An international nongovernmental organization, Mercy Corps, has called for the establishment of sexual assault referral centers.
Mercy Corps made the call while presenting its recommendations during the public hearing on violence against persons prohibition bill at the Kogi State House of Assembly.
In its recommendation, Mercy Corps explained that the sexual assault referral centers (SARCs) will serve as safe homes to survivors, victims, minors and immediate families in need of protection from perpetuators to further strengthen the right to assistance to victims as provided for in Section 41 of the Bill.
The Mercy Corps’ Community Initiative to Promote Peace (CIPP) team led by Omaboyowa Roberts and Amina Bello presented policy recommendations on the floor of the House during the public hearing.
Mercy Corps also recommended training of police force on community policing and gender sensitive reporting in handling cases that are reported.
The Joint House Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Justice and Legal Matters, and Women Affairs and Social Development, Barrister Cosmas Atabor gave assurance that the recommendations will be considered at the technical session of the House before the third reading and expected passage of the VAPP Bill.
Mercycorps, through the Community Initiative to Promote Peace (CIPP), a USAID funded project, is implementing its policy influencing and advocacy component of the project. Mercycorps is a strategic partner collaborating with Mrs Eunice Agbogun, executive director of Challenged Parenthood Initiative (CPI), the sponsor of the private member Bill.
Aside Mercy Corps, ActionAid Nigeria, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Hajiya Fatima Buba; representative of the Commissioner for Justice, the Police, representative of the Secretary to the State Government, Chief Registrar of the High Court of Justice, faith based leaders from CAN and JNI, Kogi State Network of NGOs (KONGONET) and other CSOs were in attendance at the public hearing.