As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase across the country and with stringent measures being put in place for individuals to quarantine and self-isolate, Women at Risk International Foundation (WARIF), an NGO focused on reducing the prevalence of gender-based violence in Nigeria, has become more concerned with the increase in the number for survivors who may be at risk with an abuser during quarantine.
To address cases of gender-based violence during this period, WARIF is calling on all affected adults and caregivers of young children to make use of its 24-hour confidential help line, to report any cases of sexual abuse or attempted sexual abuse, and receive necessary information on how to seek help, clinical and emotional counselling and where to seek law enforcement for their perpetrators.
The organization through its Police Awareness Initiative has access to a select number of police stations across Lagos, with an assigned officer addressed to assist survivors, and handle their cases. With this collaboration, WARIF is ensuring that survivors can get prompt and satisfactory responsiveness from the police in locations closest to them.
“Through our 24-hourr confidential help line and our access to law enforcement, WARIF is reinforcing its commitment to ensuring the safety of women, girls and children especially during these unprecedented times with the Covid-19 outbreak pandemic,” says Dr. Kemi Da-Silva Ibru, founder of WARIF. “We have put in place safety planning measures to provide access for women, girls and children who require our support during these difficult times.
“As borders close down in many countries, and governments institute mandatory lockdowns and families are sequestered; children and women at risk will be locked in and quarantined with their abusers in very volatile home environments; we envisage an increase in the cases of domestic and sexual violence as abusers now see this as an opportunity to cause harm to these groups.
“We urge all individuals at risk to please make use of our 24-hour helpline 0809 210 0009 or send messages to our social media platforms on @Warif_ng.
“As most organizations continue to lend support to the fight against Covid-19, WARIF is creating a safe place for survivors to receive the necessary assistance through its remote services and collaborations.”