Gender Based Violence: Imo Launches Sexual Assault Referral Centre, SARC

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Onwudiwe Happy With Development

By Onyekachi Eze

The recently passed Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act Law, in Imo State by the State Lawmakers has gained upper hands, as the Senator Hope Uzodinma led administration has began the implementation of the recommendations of the Law.

The Lawmakers months ago after the first, Second, Public hearing, to the last stage of its paper work passed the VAPP bill into Law.

Chiefly sponsored by the Lawmaker representing Njaba State Constituency, Rt. Hon. Uju Onwudiwe, the Law was aimed at protecting the Girl-Child from sexual harm, molestation, physical abuses, as well as the men folks.

The cheering news therefore was that the Imo State government through the office of the first Lady, Barr. Mrs Chioma Uzodinma has formally launched the Imo State Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), which could be known as “The Deborah House”.

The establishment is located at the Imo State Primary Health Care Development Agency (ISPHCDA), Umuguma, New Owerri.

According to Mrs. Uzodinma, the opening of the Centre marked the beginning of the global advocacy of 16 days of Activism against Sexual and Gender-based violence.

He disclosed that the establishment was as a result of the collective efforts of the Nigeria Governors’ Wives Forum (NIGWF) which took a stand in advocating for development programs to support sexually-abused women and girls in overcoming the trauma from the menace.

“Imo State has excelled in achieving the objectives set forth in the agenda developed for the Nigeria Governors Wives Against Gender-based Violence (NGWA-GBV), one of which is the establishment of referral centers that can lessen the suffering of SGBV survivors.

The wonderful event ended with jubilation and entertainment. Our next goal is to increase the numbers of the SGBV service providers at this center with well-reviewed and codified Standard Operating Procedures”, she said.

Against this backdrop, the sponsor of the VAPP Law, Hon. Uju Onwudiwe has commended the first Lady for the establishment of the Imo SARC Centre.

According to a media release signed by Onwudiwe’s aide, the female ranking House Member extolled Mrs Chioma Uzodinma, on her swift response towards the timely  establishment of the Centre in the State.

From her explanation, it is solely meant to tackle every form of sexual abuse and gender-based violence in its entirety.

Assembly Vibes learnt that the duties to be executed by SARC include the following;
Providing legal services to the victims of gender-based violence (gbv), Provision of rehabilitation services and shelter to the gbv victims, Screening and consequential treatment of victims of sexual abuses, Counseling of gbv victims for them to fit into the society once again without living with the guilt of stigmatization, Rendering of psychological services and other overall needed supports to the gbv victims.

Among other detailed duties in line with the VAPP’s act.

The elegant Lawmaker further eulogized the Imo first Lady for her continued struggle towards the protection and general welfare of the girl-child in the state.