Edo Govt Establishes Sexual Assault Referral Centre for Rape Survivors, Others

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Adibe Emenyonu in Benin-city

As part of efforts to tackle incidences of rape and other sexual assaults as well as the need to cater for the survivors, the Edo State Government has said it has concluded plans for the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC).

The state Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Hon. Maria Edeko, disclosed this during a five-day training course in Sexual Assault Trauma Counselling (SARC) organised for counselors attached to the ministry to fast-track the delivery of SARC services in the state.

The training course was supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme and funded by the European Union, and held in Benin-city, the Edo State capital.

Speaking during the flag-off ceremony, the commissioner noted that setting up the centre would make it easier for survivors (victims) of defilement/rape to come forward for treatment and advice, which will eventually boost the conviction rate of rapists.

According to her, “Survivors (victims) referred to the centre will undergo a forensic examination, receive counselling, psychosocial support and be advised on and supported in the process of pressing charges as the centre is designed to render multiple services as a one-stop shop.”

As part of the programme, medical personnel from government-run hospitals in the state received specialised trainings in forensic medical examination, treatment and documentation as part of efforts by the state government to address shortcomings in the medico-legal response to rape cases.

The training also featured keynote address delivered by the state Coordinator of Child Protection Network, Stella Ojeme.