The Edo government yesterday concluded plans for the establishment of Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) as part of efforts by the Governor Godwin Obaseki administration to tackle the incidence of rape and other sexual assaults in the state.
The Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Maria Edeko, disclosed this during a five-day training course in Sexual Assault Trauma Counselling (SARC) organised for counsellors attached to the ministry to fast-track the delivery of SARC services in the state.
The course, which held in Benin City, was supported by the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme and funded by the European Union (EU).Speaking during the flag-off, the commissioner noted that the setting up of the centre would make it easier for victims of defilement/rape to come forward for treatment and advice to boost the conviction rate of rapists.
According to her, “Survivors (victims) referred to the centre will undergo a forensic examination, receive counselling, psychosocial support and be advised on and supported in the process of pressing charges as the centre is designed to render multiple services as a one-stop-shop.”
As part of the programme, medical personnel from government-run hospitals in the state received specialised trainings in forensic medical examination, treatment and documentation to address shortcomings in the medico-legal response to rape cases.The training also featured a keynote address delivered by the State Coordinator of Child Protection Network, Stella Ojeme, with participants presented with certificates.