Mrs Juliana Joseph, the Director, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) Kaduna, on Tuesday, decried increasing rate of sexual abuse against minors in Kaduna State.
Joseph told newsmen in Kaduna that the development could have life time effect on the lives of victims if continued.
According to her, parents and care givers must watch over their girl child at all times, adding that even neighbours and relations should be treated as potential suspects.
She said the centre received more than 10 cases of sexual abuse against minors in two weeks of its commencement of activities this month.
The director added that such cases did not include those being handled by the police and the Ministry of Women Affairs which she said she did not have the figures.
She said “most of the cases that come to our table are perpetuated by unsuspected neighbours or relations.
“The victims are mostly children between the ages of three and 11, while the culprits are elderly men, including grandfathers.”
She noted that incest, another abomination was on the increase and happening right under the watch of parents, particularly in houses where the boys and the girls sleep in the same room.
She advised parents to ensure that their daughters and sons sleep in separate rooms, stressing that “this is not only peculiar among children; more disturbing is the fact that fathers are even more guilty of the crime than children.
“We found that fathers sleep with their daughters at the slightest opportunity with no shame and no one would know until the victim decides to open up.”
The director also urged care givers to report to relevant authorities whenever someone, whoever he might be, took undue advantage of young girls.
She said the ugly trend would continue until the perpetrators of such act were exposed and prosecuted, adding that parents and care givers had a duty of protecting their children from all forms of abuse.
She solicited partnership with the media to create the needed awareness about the centre and services being provided to help victims of sexual abuse to live normal lives.
She said “SARC has commenced operations and we want people to know about us and how to access our services.”
The Kaduna State Government inaugurated the centre in December 2016 to provide psycho-social counseling, forensic examination, medical treatment and legal services for victims of sexual assault.
The centre, located in the Gwamna Awan General Hospital, Kakuri, Kaduna, was established with support from UK Department for International Development (DFID), through its Justice For All project.
The Kaduna State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mrs Amina Sijuwade, said during the inauguration that the centre would be run by Ministry of Justice, in partnership with Ministry of Women and Social Development, Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.
According to her, the Ministry of Health will provide forensic examination and treatment, the Nigerian Police will investigate, and the Ministry of Justice will provide legal services.
The Ministry of Women Affairs would provide psycho-social counseling for the victims, making it a complete package in response to the increasing cases of sexual assault in the state.