A non-governmental organization (NGO), Save the Children, on Wednesday said that sexual assault referral centres in Kaduna State had received a total of 662 cases of abuse against women and children since inception in 2016.
Isah Ibrahim, an advocacy advisor with the NGO made the disclosure in Zaria, during a two-day sensitization workshop on Violence Against Children (VAC).
The workshop was organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“Out of the 662 cases recorded, 373 were received at Gwamna Awan specialist hospital, Nasarawa, 104 received at Sir Patrick Yakowa memorial hospital, Kafanchan, 114 cases at Yusuf Dantsoho specialist hospital, Tudun Wada and 71 received at Gambo Sawaba hospital, Zaria”, he said.
He said the centres provide medical consultation on individual cases and assist with psychosocial management of the family while in crisis.
Mr Ibrahim mentioned some major flashpoints of child abuse in Kaduna metropolis to include Tudun Wada, Kakuri, Gonin Gora, Rigasa, Rigachikun, Sabon Tasha, Nasarawa, Romi among others.
He, however, noted that the centres were faced with challenges of weak implementation of policies and limited working time, urging the state government to ensure proper implementation of the Child Right Act.
On her part, the centre manager of Salama sexual assault referral centre, Kafanchan, Grace Yohanna said the centre provides medical intervention and optional legal intervention for victims of abuse.
She stated that females were mostly affected in terms of abuse with 94 cases out of the 104 cases received at the centre.
“We have 79 cases of emotional abuse and 25 cases of rape; children were most affected in the rape case.
“That is why we want everybody in the community to be part of the war against all forms of violence against children; let’s be our neighbours’ keepers and report any case of abuse to the nearest centre,” she said.
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Mrs Yohanna who commended the government for providing such centres that support survivors of rape and other sexual abuse stated that the centre needed more drugs.
She appealed to members of the public to speak up and report any case of abuse whether physical, sexual or emotional.
Denis Onoise, a Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF, stated that most perpetrators of Violence Against Children (VAC) were not strangers, but people close to the children such as parents, teachers, religious leaders and relatives.
Mr Onoise said that a national survey conducted by the National Population Commission with support from UNICEF in 2014, showed that Nigeria has a high prevalence of VAC, with six out of every 10 children experiencing some form of violence.
He urged parents and caregivers to support their children and report any incidence of VAC to the appropriate authority.