Network of Reproductive Health Journalists partners Lagos DSVA, WARDC & TCI in championing end to SGBV in Lagos

Network of Reproductive Health Journalists partners Lagos DSVA, WARDC & TCI  in championing end to SGBV in Lagos

The Lagos Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSCA) is seeking  partnership with everyone to prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence ( SGBV) against women and children.

Disclosing this during a webinar organized by the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria (Lagos State branch),
 the Executive Secretary of the Lagos DSVA, Mrs Lola Vivour-Adeniyi, declared that prevention rather than cure is the solution to ending SGBV in Lagos state and elsewhere.

Vivour-Adeniyi who was  represented by the Head of the Legal Department of the agency, Ms Tope Oyedija, stated assuredly that ignorance of the law was no excuse even as she noted that culprits of SGBV acts were well aware of the laws. 

 Speaking on the topic titled: "The Role of Policy and Legislation in addressing Sexual and Domestic Violence in Lagos State", during a webinar organised by the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, Lagos State branch to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children (IDEVAW),  she said legislation such as the criminal code, the VAPP Law, and Child Rights laws, among others have played significant roles in thwarting the activities of perpetrators of SGBV.

According to the Executive Secretary, the investigation of the cases and prosecution of perpetrators of SGBV in Lagos state coupled with  community engagement, support services, shelter, recently established by the agency and other contributions by CSOs, have also helped in the rehabilitation of victims of SGBV, protecting them from immediate danger, and easing them into protective custody where they have access to psychosocial support to alleviate the impact of the violence on them.

"Policy and Legislation has helped in restricting the actions of perpetrators of SGBV", she stated.

The Lagos DSVA Executive Secretary encouraged everyone experiencing any form of domestic and sexual violence, and who require someone to talk to, to call the toll free number 08000333333, even as she assured of maximum confidentiality.

In her presentation entitled"Mitigating the Impact of Sexual and Domestic Violence against Women in Nigeria", the Executive Director of Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC, Dr Abiola Akiyode-Afolabi called for abolishment of  the patriarch nature of the African culture which, she said, made women more vulnerable to SGBV.

She bemoan that impunity has fuelled SGBV due to power imbalance, inequality. unfavourable laws  and inadequate sanctions.

Akiyode-Afolabi proposed that strong policies, political will and sanctions should be put in place to lessen the impact of domestic and sexual violence impact on women while survivors and everyone should continue to say no to violence and not give in to the excuses of the perpetrators.

The Lagos State Programme Manager of The Challenge Initiative, TCI, Nigeria, Dr Omotunde Odanye, in her presentation titled: "Empowering Women through Family Planning: A Path to Gender  Equality and Violence Prevention" advocated for government policies that promote women rights, adolescents targeted 
quality and balanced information on family planning to avoid  unintended pregnancy and other attendant challenges, noted that lack of Family Planning options can stress a family and lead to escalation of violence among married couples.

"Empower a woman to make strategic life choices, family planning allows couples to attain the desired number of children, healthy child spacing through use of contraceptive
which will enable complete education for girls and women,  improve economic independence, gender equality, healthier women and girls, better relationships/families," she argued.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Lagos State Coordinator of the Network of Reproductive Health Journalists of Nigeria, NRHJN, Ms Kikelomo Oduyebo, stated that as a media advocacy group, the NRHJN would continue its advocacy drive towards the elimination of violence against women and children, through partnerships with government, development partners and other Civil Society groups.

Oduyebo specifically mentioned the Women Advocate Research and Documentation Centre, WARDC, and The Challenge Initiative , TCI, Nigeria, both of which teamed up with the Network to promote the advocacy for sustained anti-SGBV policies to commemorate the IDEVAW.

Oduyebo said the NRHJN had been advocating on sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and adolescents since 2010 in Nigeria and the group is ever ready to join the global community to observe the 16 days of activism against SGBV which holds November 25 annually and is observed as International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Children,  till December 10, recognized as the Universal Human Rights Declaration Day.

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