BY JOY YESUFU, Abuja
With the recent upsurge in the menace of rape and other forms of Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG), the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has taken a bold step to make report easy for survivors of Gender Based (GBV) and to improve access to services for survivors of GBV in a Professional, confidential and timely manner.
To achieve this, the FCT Social Development Secretariat (SDS) in collaboration with the EU/UN Spotlight Initiative organized a 2-day workshop aimed at developing a referral pathway for the FCT.
A referral pathway is a flexible mechanism that safely links survivors of GBV to a supportive and competent services to help improve quality and timeliness of services. A clear reporting and referral system is very important so that survivors and witnesses to an incident know who to report to and what sort of assistance they can expect to receive.
This system should be familiar to all members of the community and to all actors involved in providing services to survivors.
In her opening remark, the Director of SDS, Dr. Agnes Uta Hart urged participants to ensure that the objective of the workshop was achieved.
She said many GBV cases remain unreported because communities do not trust the capacity of response structures and social norms that allow them settle outside the law.
Consultant and facilitator at the workshop, Omokide Chiikodi while addressing participants said GBV Guiding Principles to state actors who are duty bearers in case management should have indebt knowledge of the guiding principles which include ensuring the safety of GBV survivor, ensuring confidentiality, respecting wishes of the survivor, and practicing non-discrimination.
“They are to also internalized the guiding principles if the survivor is a child. Children are particularly vulnerable to any kind of violence and depending on their age maybe unable to take decision. It is important to ensure the child/adolescent is always in the company of a trusted adult ideally selected by the child” he said.
These continuous trends of GBV has made it critical for firm action to be taken to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Nigerian women and children. Hence the need for a referral pathway that outlines the various support and referral services available to a survivor.
Response to Gender based violence is largely a Government mandate, and should focus on building capacity in existing structures. It has become imperative for organizations with expertise in GBV prevention and response to work with government duty bearers to improve their technical skills while deploying the survival centered approach and also to enhance coordination.