Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), through its Gatekeepers initiative, and in partnership with ACT Foundation, has successfully conducted the the training and sensitisation of 100 Law Enforcement agents, on the role of the Nigerian Police in the fight against sexual assault in Nigeria.
The WARIF Gatekeepers Project is an intervention training programme aimed at addressing the high incidence of rape and sexual violence in rural communities across Nigeria reinforces the organisation’s commitment to tackle the incidence of violence against women in Nigeria.
The training involved equipping the Police with the knowledge and tools required to identify and manage cases of gender-based violence in different communities. A workshop was carried out and served as a platform to teach the law enforcement agents the importance of gender sensitivity and empathy towards cases of rape and sexual violence, while enforcing the process of referral to the WARIF center – where medical care, counselling and legal aid are administered to survivors at no charge.
Dr. DaSilva- Ibru, Founder of WARIF, speaking about the project said, “Following a successful first cycle of training of 50 law enforcement agents on the techniques to identify, manage and the appropriate referral of cases sent to the WARIF Centre, we decided to roll out this second phase to educate more law enforcement officers in Lagos. By training the Police,we recognise that they are usually the first point of contact for many of the survivors of rape and sexual violence in our communities, and it is important they are well equipped with the right tools to manage, and refer the cases to us.”
With the implementation of these training programs, we have begun to build a sustainable partnership with the police to aid in our fight against rape and sexual violence in our communities.The training also presented the opportunity for us to reinforce our referral system, emphasisng the importance of referring such cases in a timely fashion, usually within a 72 hour window and encouraging law enforcement to approach these cases with the respect and sensitivity they deserve.We hope to extend our footprints across more communities in the near future.” she added.
The WARIF Centre offers Clinical and Forensic Examination Services, Psychological support with Counselling and Therapy services, Social Welfare Services, Legal Support, and a 24-hour Confidential Helpline for survivors of rape, sexual and gender based violence in Nigeria. The organisation seeks to prevent, and advocate against the increasing prevalence of sexual violence amongst women and young girls of all ages and its consequences.