Police want special court for rape, SGBV cases – Daily Trust


The Police in Nigeria are advocating for the creation of a special court to handle cases of rape and other Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country.

The Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of force intelligence, Ibrahim Lamorde, made this call when he hosted the executive secretary of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tony Ojukwu, in his office in Abuja.

He said the special court will help ensure accelerated hearing, provide enabling environment to ensure privacy for survivors and encourage them to speak out freely when they present their cases during hearing.

According to him, delay in justice had psychological impact on survivors which emboldens the perpetrators.

 

Stigmatization of rape victims

AIG Lamorde acknowledged that stigmatization makes rape cases thrive, adding that it needed to be addressed from the point where survivors report the incident to the police.

He said officers needed to understand the magnitude of the problem they create when they discourage survivors due to their unprofessional conduct.

AIG Lamorde also emphasized a need to check the threshold of dealing with rape cases which are usually delayed due to the ambiguity surrounding the evidence to prove such cases.

AIG Lamorde reiterated the importance of retaining professional police officers trained in dealing with rape cases to stay on their beat for at least three (3) years to ensure continuity in capacity to deal with cases as well as share knowledge with other officers on how to deal with such sensitive cases.

While speaking earlier, Ojukwu called for the reactivation of the bi-monthly meeting between the two organiations in order to stem the tide of cases of rape and SGBV in the country.

Ojukwu stated that the meeting will be well focused to deal with all human rights cases which deserved urgent attention from the police, especially cases of SGBV which, he said, is now a pandemic.

The NHRC Boss added that; “the commission’s work to effectively discharge its mandate in dealing with certain violations cannot be complete without relating with the police.

“We need the police to coordinate timely response to save lives.”

He noted that there was an urgent need to build the capacity of Human Rights and Gender Desk Officers in all the police commands across the country to ensure professionalism and efficiency in dealing with numerous cases generally and rape/SGBV cases in particular.

He observed that most survivors of rape were deflated in spirit on arrival to make complaints at the police station.

Ojukwu attributed this to the unprofessional conducts in handling the cases by police officers who stigmatize survivors through dismissive comments, describing it as highly unacceptable.

He stressed that: “A crop of professional police officers dealing with Human Rights and SGBV can provide accurate data on SGBV cases.

“Data is key in addressing these cases because it will help us to get a rundown of cases across the country by knowing how many cases we have at hand; how many are prosecuted and so on”.

There have been rise in cases of rape and SGBV recently in Nigeria.

Government is looking at way to curb the trend with several stakeholders advocating for stiff penalties for offenders.

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Source: Daily Trust

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