The Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD) invited Centre for Creative Development Strategies (CCDS) and other Community Society Organizations (CSOs), Community Based Organizations (CBO)s, Lawyers, Local Communities, Persons with disabilities and other survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the three listed Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Port Harcourt, Eleme and Tai.

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is one of the highest predominant and persistent issues facing people, especially women and girls globally. World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated over 35% of women experiencing some kind of physical and sexual violence at different point in their lives. While also, a baseline on GBV in the Niger Delta revealed that 35% of women in the Niger Delta have experienced either physical or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence, according to WHO report on GBV in Africa.

The Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) was passed at the National Assembly, Nigeria in 2015, after the realization that most violence against person’s offenders were not punished or persecuted for their crimes. Hence VAPP law became domesticated in Rivers State, making Rivers State the 19th State in Nigeria to domesticate the VAPP Law. CEHRD led the CSOs advocacy for the passage of the VAPP law in Rivers State. The Law was passed in January 2020.

According to CEHRD’s consultant, Mrs. Obiageli Celestina Oraka-Oifoghe who is the author for the training manual of the VAPP ACT, in her introduction said that the VAPP Law is robust and addresses wide range of violence against persons that are prominent in Rivers State. VAPP Law is one that deals with violence against persons and punishes crimes of violence against persons. Furthermore, she was of the opinion that CBOs have a huge role to play in the implementation of the Rivers State Violence against Persons since they are at the centre of sensitization.

The major aim of the training is to break the muteness around GBV while encouraging them to report without fear and shame. Most prevailing GBV consists of rape, domestic violence, physical violence, sexual abuse, economic violence, verbal violence, force imprisonment, human trafficking, forced abortions, female genital mutilation, administration of substances, and many other violence.

During the training session, participants were walked through on the types of violence and the punishments attainable to the abuser. The sessions were spilled into five modules:

  • Understanding VAPP Law
  • Understanding the basics of violence
  • Victims’ rights under VAPP Law
  • Implementation actors
  • Powers  of the court

Participants representing different organizations were assigned some duties. The duties of CSOs/CBOs are to:

  • Apply to the ministry of social welfare and rehab as service provider
  • Create awareness on VAPP Law 2020
  • Sensitize the public on GBV
  • Document cases of violence  against persons
  • File reports with the police and the ministry
  • Initiate actions in court
  • Support the police with investigation
  • File for protection order
  • Offer social, medical and psychological supports
  • Do a follow-up with survivors

Types of violence were exhaustedly discussed during the interactive sessions and the punishments that comes up with it on the violators. There were experience sharing moments from many participants. There were peer learning sessions, which included also “training of Trainers.”

This project is funded by the European Union with support from Agent for Citizen-Driven Transformation (ACT) and the British Council, and implemented by Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD).

#cehrd #riversstatevapplaw #ccdsnigeria

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