The Sexual Assault Center of Gwamna Awon Specialist Hospital, Kaduna on Wednesday said it had so far recorded over 400 cases of sexual abuse since its inception in December 2016.
The centre manager, Mrs Julain Joseph made the disclosure at the ongoing 4-day workshop on “Ending Violence Against Children (VAC)” in Zaria, Kaduna state.
Mrs Julain who was represented by Rachael Sankey-Daniel of the centre, said that out of the 400 cases, 163 cases were recorded this year (2019).
NAN reports that the workshop was organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
According to her, most of the survivors from this year’s record are female with 146 against 17 males, among which were mostly children under the age of 18.
“It would interest you to know that most of the perpetrators of these abuses are close to the survivors; some are parents, caregivers, teachers, neighbours, and relatives,” she said.
Joseph decried the use of religion or tradition by some members of the public to sabotage the effort of the center to ensure that perpetrators were brought to book.
She appealed to parents of survivors, community and religious leaders to support the center in ensuring that perpetrators were punished as stipulated by law as VAC is a serious crime.
She explained that people were now more aware of the centre and its activities but still not free to report cases of sexual assault on boys as most of the cases recorded were mostly from females.
Mrs. Joseph, therefore, urged the survivors of sexual and gender-based violence to speak out and report the cases to centres specialized in providing them with support.
She also appealed to government, non-government organizations and other stakeholders to continue to support the centre financially so as to enhance service delivery.
Joseph, however, explained that the center, also known as Salama Centre, is the pilot of all the four centres created in the state.
She said that the centre provided psychosocial counselling, free medication and legal intervention to survivors of sexual abuse and other forms of violence.
Meanwhile, Mr. Dennis Onoise, Child Protection Specialist with the UNICEF said the centre would engage in the sensitization of people at the grassroots level on VAC.
“After the workshop, they would go to wards and other communities to share their experience and sensitize the community on how to prevent and respond to VAC,” he said.