The Lagos State Government on Tuesday commenced a three-day training for 20 police officers on how to respond to Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the state.

The training is being coordinated by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT), in partnership with the Lagos State Police Command and the Ford Foundation.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 20 police officers were drawn from the five police divisions’ newly upgraded to Family Support Units (FSUs).

The police divisions are Okokomaiko, Owutu, Bariga, Epe and Ajegunle.

In her remarks, the DSVRT Coordinator, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, said the FSUs would serve as specialised police stations designated to investigate and prosecute SGBV cases.

“This journey has been six-years in the making and we are very elated that we have upgraded some police divisions to SFUs,” Mrs Vivour-Adeniyi said.

Also, the Director, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Babajide Martins, said law enforcement officers had a responsibility to give back to society and protect the vulnerable, especially women and children.

Mr Martins, a facilitator at the training, charged the participants to be upright and uphold the law while investigating cases of sexual and gender-based violence.

“When officers become mischievous by not revealing vital information uncovered during their investigations, it makes the work of the prosecutors difficult in court.

“There is nothing concerning gender-based violence that is not under the law. You have to know the law.

“If during investigation you are confused about what the law says, you can contact the OPD or the DSVRT for clarity,” Mr Martins said.

Also speaking, Bimbo Williams, the Second in Command, Gender Desk, Lagos State Police Command, noted that the state had zero tolerance for SGBV.

Ms Williams, an assistant superintendent of police, also stressed the importance of police officers knowing how to handle SGBV cases and charged them to take the training seriously.

“I hope we will all learn a lot from this training and implement such to reduce the rate of this crime in Lagos State.

“I know with this training, when you get back to your various divisions, you will impart the knowledge to others who do not have the knowledge on how to handle these cases.

“Gone are the days when people will come to us to report gender-based matters and we chase them back home by saying they are family affairs,” Ms Williams said.

Topics to be handled during the training include SGBV and Human Rights, Consideration of the Relevant Laws, Guiding Principle of SGBV, Handling of SGBV Cases, and Exploring Existing State Structure and Services for Sexual Assault Survivors.

Others are: Improving the Practice of Reporting at Police Stations, Role of Forensic Evidence on SGBV Investigation, Mediation, Best Practices for Investigating SGBV Cases and Police as a Service Delivery Agency.

(NAN)

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