Lockdown: NGO tasks Bauchi govt on monitoring gender-based violence
A Bauchi based NGO, the Attah Sisters Helping Hands Foundation (ASHHF), has urged the state government, and other partners to improve on monitoring of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in the state during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Executive Director of the Foundation, Mrs Comfort Attah, made the call on Sunday in Bauchi during an interview with our Correspondent saying that the coronavirus pandemic has continued to soar while the authority’s respond with social and health control measures, reports of sexual and gender-based violence have not abated.
Comfort Attah said: “Victims of domestic violence, most often women, face a double threat: a deadly virus outside and an abuser at home,” saying that there is the need for the government to improve protection and services for survivors, by strengthening enabling laws.
“There is also the need to address the root causes of violence, by challenging social norms and behaviours as well as tackling the wider gender inequalities,” Comfort Attah said.
She said that with families confined to their homes in the effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus, there are fears of a surge in domestic violence because according to her, the pandemic has only intensified the occurrence of sexual gender-based violence.
She opined that “The lockdown is creating fertile ground for gender inequalities to be exposed at their worst. We have handled many cases of sexual violence against women in Bauchi. Nearly half of the cases treated are women who have experienced intimate partner domestic violence.”
The Executive Director of ASHHF explained that some violence within the pandemic period included rape cases involving pregnant women, keeping a girl in under lock and under the influence of drug for six days and brutality to women.
“Our NGO, with the support of ActionAid and the Government of Canada, is following up the case at the police station to make sure the right thing is done. We have provided medical care support and social support for traumatised victims,” she said.
She added that her NGO will provide legal services through a pro bono lawyer waiting for the courts to resume for normal legal procedure and urged the government to create and promote solution-tailored counselling of victims and centres for accessing domestic violence services.