The Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in Nigeria conference has urged the federal government to establish special courts to try rape cases and other sexual offences in the country.
At its network meeting in Abuja in Wednesday, the group said the measure would fast-track the prosecution and conviction of those found guilty of rape.
The meeting was organised by the British Council under its European Union (EU) funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme.
Priscilla Ankut, manager, access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities (PWDs) at RoLAC, lamented over the prosecution of rape cases drag for years, thereby denying victims justice.
“A specialised court to try rape cases and other sexual offences would make the prosecution of sexual offices faster,” she said.
“A situation where an 11-year old was raped and the offender was being prosecuted for years, such that the victim has become an adult and many things might have also changed.”
Ketil Karlsen, European Union ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said sexual and gender-based violence requires a coordinated action that would guarantee the safety and security of vulnerable women and children across the world.
“In Nigeria, the European Union continues to highlight the importance of the fight against SGBV through a campaign aimed at raising public awareness, as well as a call to action by the citizens and the government,” Karlsen said.
Joy Ezeilo, chairman of SARC network and Member, United Nations civil society advisory board on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, said the network supports survivors of sexual violence to aid their recovery and obtain redress.
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