Between January and September 2017, a total of 852 cases of domestic violence and related cases were recorded in Lagos State, the State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) has disclosed.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos on Tuesday to commemorate the Domestic and Sexual Violence Awareness Month, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adeniji Kazeem, said out of the total number, there were 564 domestic violence cases, 60 ‘defilement’ cases, 30 rape cases, 11 attempted rape, 123 child neglect and abuse cases, and 84 other cases.
Mr. Kazeem, who is also the Chairman of DSVRT, said the trend from the data showed an increase in men coming forward to report cases of domestic violence, just as he said that this year alone, a total number of 55 men came forward to report in contrast to 14 men that reported last year.
He said the data revealed that most of sexual assault cases were perpetrated in the afternoon during weekdays, while corroborating that 95 per cent of the perpetrators of sexual violence are known to the victims, which according to him, necessitated the need to embark on sensitisation campaigns for parents on parenting skills and child abuse prevention tips as well as trainings for children on child’s rights, child abuse, safety and how to preserve evidence.
While some of the cases have been charged to court, Mr. Kazeem said the state government through the Ministry of Youth and Social Development and other stakeholders, provided shelter for the survivors.
The Commissioner also said all the survivors of sexual assault received medical attention from comprehensive Primary Health Care Centres and referral centres, among other efforts to properly rehabilitate and re-integrate them into the society.
Mr. Kazeem, however, noted that under the present administration, the interventions of DSVRT were gradually breaking the silence around issues of sexual and gender based violence in the State.
“There is a growing confidence urging people to speak out more, there is an astronomical increase in reporting of cases in the media. Lagos has indeed revolutionised the way sexual and gender based violence is being tackled in Nigeria with all the pioneering initiatives of Governor Ambode,” Mr. Kazeem said.
The Attorney General said the State Government has concluded plans to launch a short service code that would afford residents the opportunity of reporting cases of domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse and other related offences with ease.
He said the initiative was aimed at ensuring that victims of all forms of abuse reach out to the appropriate agencies and receive timely information on what to do and where to get assistance.
“This would be achieved by members of the public using keywords, that is, ‘Child Abuse to 6820’ or *6820# and an interactive menu browser to get the relevant information from such users such as name, location, specific case or complaint which would in turn ensure that the whole response team is automatically activated,” he said.
“Anybody that needs to report a case of child abuse, rape or domestic violence or requires a child or a woman to be rescued can make use of the platform and should receive timely and accurate information.”