FG to establish special courts for sexual, gender-based violence

FG to establish special courts for sexual, gender-based violence

The Federal Government is to establish special courts to prosecute cases of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence and ensure quick dispensation of justice for victims and survivors.

Minister of Women Affairs, Mrs. Pauline Tallen, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday at a media briefing commemorating the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.

The event has as its theme: “Orange the world: End violence against women now!”

Tallen said that with intense advocacy many survivors of rape and GBV had made the violation of their rights public and were seeking legal and judicial assistance.

She, however, said that the lack of survivor-sensitive approaches in court was a major challenge.

According to the minister, the limited number of courts compared to the large volume of cases, geographical distance to the nearest court, language used in courts and rising cases of secondary victimisation, had contributed to the lack of confidence in the criminal justice system by women who are subjected to violence.

From available statistics from the National Situation Room and Dashboard as of Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021, the total number of cases reported is 5,204.

“Of the figure, 3,125 survivors are demanding justice and only 33 perpetrators have so far been convicted, representing 0.51 percent.

“The fatal cases are 160, closed cases 231, while cases pending in court are 972,” she added.

According to the minister, the ministry has initiated the process of establishing special courts for vulnerable groups.

She added that the ministry would continue to push until it achieved the desired goal of providing legislative backing to punish perpetrators and get justice for victims and survivors.

Also, Ms. Comfort Lamptey, UN Women Country Representative to Nigeria and ECOWAS stressed the need to strengthen a collective response system that would effectively and promptly provide support to victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

Lamptey explained that GBV was pervasive and as such preventive efforts were pivotal through addressing harmful practices and norms that belittled the rights of women and girls.

She urged men to join in the fight to end the practice.

EU Country Representative to Nigeria, Ms. Samuela Isopi, while decrying the high rate of GBV cases, described it as a “shadow pandemic“ and called for political will and advocacy to stop the trend.

“This year’s activism in Nigeria is geared towards coordinated efforts for a special court in fighting GBV cases.”

Assistant Inspector General of Police, Aisha Abubakar, reiterated the commitment of the force to be more gender-responsive and ensure that all GBV cases were investigated and perpetrators prosecuted.

Dr. Natalia Kanem, UN-SUG and Executive Director, UNFPA, said available data indicate that the prevalence of GBV was high and stressed the need for the rehabilitation of survivors. 

(NAN) 

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