By Patrick Obia
Journalists have been beckoned at to synergize with all in gender based activities, for proper reportage of Gender Based Violence (GBV) incidences and convictions to ensure deterrence.
Spotlight Initiatives on End Violence Against Women and Girls and Harmful Practices (VAWG/HG) stakeholders made the call at a media parley held in Calabar, the Cross River State capital to kick start activities for this year’s 16 Days of Activism against GBV which runs from 25th November-10th December, 2020.
Other recommendations contained in the communique include calling “CSOs, media, and other stakeholders should develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for response to GBV incidences.
“Establishment of one stop centres where survivors can access post GBV care such as psychosocial counselling to be championed by the Government and Implementing Partners.
“Need for synergy between the Department of Public Prosecution and other partners towards litigation of GBV incidences and provision of psychosocial support to address issues of withdrawal of cases.
“Issuance of non-payment medical certificates to survivors of GBV to aid prosecution by hospitals. Funding for GBV programs and response should be prioritized and made deliberate by the Government.
“The media should increase reportage of GBV cases and follow up on such cases including those that have been convicted to serve as deterrent. And the media needs to create awareness on GBV and availability of post GBV care services.”
The stakeholders had observed that, “There is a signed commitment by the Obong of Calabar to champion the fight for the promotion of gender equitable norms and prevention of Violence against Women and Girls as well as Harmful Practices in Cross River State.
“Incidences of GBV were on the increase during the COVID 19 lockdown era. Advocacy has been paid to the Cross River State House of Assembly for the domestication of the Violence against Persons Prohibition Act in Cross River State.
“Different initiatives are being deployed to prevent occurrence of GBV and providing support for survivors of GBV. The new criminal justice law has provisions to provide financial support to survivors of GBV yet there is no political will to implement.
“Survivors of GBV often face challenges in financing litigation against culprits. Family members and survivors often withdraw cases after reporting to law enforcement agencies.
“Requirement for clinical evidence of GBV before prosecution which is a burden on the survivor. And the accusatorial system of prosecution in Nigeria which requires the gathering of concrete evidence poses a challenge in prosecuting cases of SGBV.”
16 Days of Activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that draws attention to the occurrence of GBV against women and the need to emphasize violence against women as a human rights issue and to rally concerted efforts for the elimination of all forms of GBV wherever it occurs.
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