The Lagos State Governor Akinwunmi Ambode has launched a resource book on sex abuse and gender based violence, with a call on well-meaning Nigerians to support government efforts to rid the State of domestic and sexual violence.
Ambode who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Tunji Bello, during a dinner to wrap up activities marking the Domestic Violence Month, organized by Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team said now was the time to confront the monster of domestic and gender based violence head on in our society.
The governor praised the efforts of DSVRT in the past two years, saying that the team’s achievements have helped to raise the bar in seeking justice and welfare for victims of various forms of abuses in the State.
‘‘Under this administration, the intervention of DSVRT is gradually breaking the silence around issues of Sexual & Gender Based Violence in Lagos State. There is a growing change in the culture, and people are increasingly confident to speak out, and we have seen an astronomical increase in the reporting of cases in the media. Lagos State has indeed revolutionized the handling of Sexual & Gender Based Violence in Nigeria, with all the pioneering initiatives that the DSVRT has been empowered to implement. The legacy has been set in Lagos State, and the pursuit for excellence will continue’’. Ambode stated.
While launching the book, the Governor said ‘‘the need to share our experiences and success therefore birthed the idea of a book, which would encapsulate the way Lagos State has tackled the scourge of Sexual & Gender Based Violence’’.
The book titled Overcoming Sexual and Gender Based Violence: The Lagos State Experience contains contributions from various individuals and organizations working to safeguard victims of sexual abuse and gender based violence how the State’s Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team has tackled different cases, using multi-level approach.
Also, the governor launched the Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team Trust Fund. According to the governor ‘‘this Fund is an important first step on the journey to alleviate the sufferings of survivors and give them an opportunity to move on with their lives. This Fund is another opportunity for Lagos State residents to support the cause, which shall be used primarily to provide immediate financial assistance to high-risk victims during their quest to justice; either by providing transportation, relocation or any other form of support where necessary’’.
In an interview, the Coordinator of DSVRT, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi said the book is a resource tool, which highlights the numerous interventions embarked upon by the Lagos State Government through the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team.
‘‘To highlight the practicality and intensity of DSVRT procedures, this resource tool also shares the first hand stories of some survivors and details how their cases were handled.
‘‘This book will serve as an invaluable resource tool in which all stakeholders, responder agencies and other jurisdictions can learn from the Lagos State experience.
The book contained the contributions of various persons representing the muti-faceted and multi-agency approach which the DSVRT applies in tackling SGBV in Lagos State. The book covers the religious aspect with contributions from both a pastor and an imam; the psychologist’s Perspective; the social worker’s perspective and much more’’. Vivour-Adeniyi said.
The dinner was attended by top government functionaries, traditional rulers and religious leaders from across the State. Also in attendance were non-governmental organizations and law enforcement agencies.
Awards for meritorious and humanitarian services were given out to deserving awardees in different categories.