By Ebunoluwa Sessou

As part of efforts to build the capacity of Civil Society Organizations, CSOs in Ojo and Oshodi/Isolo local government areas, Women’s Rights and Health Project, WRAHP, organized a 3-day capacity building workshop to promote the uptake of justice on Gender and Sexual Based Violence, SGBV.

The capacity building is a project called Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation, EU-ACT, funded by the European Union, EU-ACT, and managed by the British Council.

Speaking on the essence of the project, Bose Ironsi, Executive Director, WRAHP, disclosed that, since the inception of the project, lots of sensitization have taken place using the simplified domestic violence law and entry point to interact with the community.

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“We believe that we need to build the capacity of the people to be able to demand for justice and know the reporting pathways and what to do when they have issues of injustice being melted on them.

We have worked with community people, police, schools, health workers among others and we feel that there is a need to build the capacity of other stakeholders who are the CSOs to be able to manage the cases as they are reported.

On protection order, Ironsi noted that the domestic law allows for offenders not to have access to a particular place unless the case is settled.

“Cases of domestic and sexual violence should not be a family matter. Rather, the abused person should be satisfied with the punitive measures melted on the offender.

Weak system

She lamented that the processes for domestic and sexual violence takes a longer time to be settled adding many people would have forgotten about the case b Also, Foluke Omoworare, Principal Consultant, Fobodaire Development Consultant, who spoke on, Responses and Case Management” expressed optimism that the training would go a long way as CSOs are expected to gather information that would help them manage cases of abused women in their communities.

“Basically, their knowledge has been enhanced. Therefore, an enabling environment should be created.

“Stakeholders and key actors in the community need to be sensitised and educated on the existing laws on SGBV. They need to understand the literacy of the law. Let the laws be simplified so that at a glance, you will be able to interpret it carefully.

“She however noted SGBV laws should be enhanced by the government to create an enabling environment for literacy of the laws.

Meanwhile, James Unegbu, Programme Manager, WRAHP, who spoke on Lagos State Domestic Violence Law, revealed that, there is need for justice for victims of domestic and sexual violence.

According to him, a high degree of violence between spouses and connected persons should be investigated, adding that punitive measures should be imposed on offenders to enhance deterrence.

Speaking on consent, he said, cases of minor, mentally retarded, unconscious, incapable to consent for fear, or a person whom the court dissatisfied, do not necessarily need consent for anyone to speak for them.

On where cases can be lodged, he said, “the application will be taken to the court while people who can help include police, witnesses at the scene, health workers among others.

Sex offender’s register

On sex offender’s register, he said, “The Lagos State has what is called Sex Offender’s Register which is a list of people who have committed sex related crimes. The reason for here is need efore it is finally resolved. keeping the register is to be able to track the offenders so that wherever they go, they are mandated to report themselves to the police so as to be aware of their new location. It allows the community to be warned of their presence and to take appropriate measures whilst they live in the community.

“The Lagos state governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu signed the sex offender’s register. It is worthy of note that the federal government keeps the sex offender’s register as well.

“It is criminal offender for any sex offender not to present him or herself to the police if he or she moves to a new community. As part of the matter handled against, the sex offender, he is mandated, instructed and informed on why it is necessary to inform the police of his presence in the new community. Under that particular law, there are punitive measures to be taken against the sex offender.

“The domestic and sexual violence agency publicized it during the 16 days of Activism against sexual and gender based violence last year”, he said.

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