Thursday 04 December 2014

Conference Title: A Coordinated Approach to Sexual and Gender-based Violence in Lagos State
Venue: Ikeja, Lagos

In response to the rising levels of sexual and gender-based violence across the country, J4A supported the establishment of the first ever Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Lagos. The centre, which is located within the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), provides both medical and counselling services to victims of such crimes as well as collecting forensic medical evidence to enhance successful prosecution of sexual offenders in court.

The Mirabel Centre is being managed by the Lagos based civil society organisation, Partnership for Justice, in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Health, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Women affairs and Poverty Alleviation, the Nigeria Police Force and civil society. The Lagos State Government has taken further steps to establish a Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) of lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, who have been specially trained to prosecute sexual offences. This coordinated approach to respond to SGBV amongst key justice sector actors in the state, has so far, recorded significant and positive results. In just over a year of operation, the Mirabel Centre has provided forensic medical examination and counselling services to 361 victims of sexual violence and assault and 220 of these have been cases of child defilement.

The J4A Programme is organising this conference to sensitize relevant stakeholders in Lagos State on the issue of sexual and gender-based violence, raise the profile of the Mirabel Centre among stakeholders in the state and share experiences on the importance of adopting a cross-sectoral and integrated approach in dealing with the problem. The conference will be attended by Lagos State policy makers, judicial officers, lawyers, medical personnel, law enforcement officers, gender activists and civil society organisations.