Public defender says lack of rape kits hinders justice for victims

Shadowed lady used to illustrate the story.

Rape kit is a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following an allegation of sexual assault.

The Director in-charge of the Office of the Public Defender, OPD, Lagos State, Omotola Rotimi, on Wednesday said non-availability of kits stalled dispensation of justice in rape cases.

Ms. Rotimi made the statement during an interview in Lagos. She said rape kits are necessary in the struggle against sexual violence.

“We don’t even have rape kits in Lagos State, even in Nigeria there are no rape kits,” she said.

“Just like you have the AIDS kits that they use for the victims, there should also be rape kits that any medical officer in any hospital, whether government or private hospital, can immediately assist the rape victims by collecting evidence.

“Then, the police will use this evidence in court to prosecute the abusers,” she said.

Ms. Rotimi said that a rape kit is a set of items used by medical personnel for gathering and preserving physical evidence following an allegation of sexual assault which could be used during investigation. She said the kit consists of small boxes, microscope slides and plastic bags.

She said that the plastic bag is used for collecting and storing evidence, such as clothing, fibres, hairs, saliva, semen or body fluid of the victim and the abuser.

Ms. Rotimi said the evidence may help identify the assailant and provide evidence supporting prosecution in a criminal trial.

She said that perpetrators of sexual violence acted with virtual impunity and left women and girls vulnerable to the c because there were no rape kits. She said that many more cases of rape were not reported because of lack of confidence in the criminal justice system and the fear of social stigma.

Ms. Rotimi urged governments to provide rape kits in all health facilities and police stations to aid collection of evidence and dispensation of justice.

(NAN)


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  • eBusinesz

    LASRA will know better