The J4A programme organised a one-day sensitization event in response to the rising levels of sexual and genderbased violence (SGBV) across Nigeria. The event was aimed at raising awareness of the need for an integrated response to the problem of SGBV and the desirability of establishing Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARC) in the Northern states of Nigeria. The event was held on 7th October 2015 at the Tahir Guest Palace Hotel in Kano State.
In attendance were Chief Judges, the State Attorneys General, Commissioners of Police, Commissioners and Permanent Secretaries from Ministries of Justice, Ministries of Women Affairs and Ministries of Health from different states including Bauchi, Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Niger, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara. Lawyers, judicial officers, medical personnel, law enforcement officers, gender activists and relevant civil society organisations from these nine states were also present. While the various presentations made at the event demonstrated to stakeholders the effectiveness of a cross-sectoral methodology in tackling SGBV, it also stressed the critical role of SARCs.
At the end of the conference participants agreed on the need for a coordinated approach that can effectively combat sexual and gender-based violence in the region. Prior to the conference, in September 2015, J4A supported a specialist training event for medical and counselling staff from the Jigawa, Kano and Niger State Ministries of Health, Justice, Gender, Women’s Affairs and Social Welfare. It is hoped that this will help initiate SARC services in their states and improve the way SGBV survivors are treated.