The Salama Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Kafanchan, Jema’a Local Government of Kaduna State, says it recorded 19 rape cases during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The centre’s Counsellor, Mr Sule Avong, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kafanchan on Friday.
NAN reports that the Kaduna State Government had on March 25 imposed a lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease, but lifted it on June 10.
Avong said that the centre also recorded 110 physical and emotional violence cases within the period.
He said that most perpetrators of such acts tried to frustrate the cases, noting, however, said that the centre will not relent in its efforts to get justice for victims of sexual assault or other related crimes.
Avong advised victims to always report to the centre within 72 hours of being abused to enable medical experts extract the key ingredients needed to secure conviction of offenders.
According to him, it is also important for them to quickly report to be able to access drugs to prevent getting sexually transmitted diseases.
“One of the major challenges we are having is that many of the survivors report late.
“Some would come maybe two weeks after they were raped or molested.
“This makes it extremely difficult for the doctor to examine the person and get all the necessary ingredients to nail the offender in court.
“They are supposed to report to the centre immediately, three days or at most five days after the assort.
“Then they will be examined by the doctor and also get medications that will prevent them from getting sexually transmitted diseases,’’ he said.
He called on well-meaning individuals and organisations to support the centre with medical interventions as “it is increasingly being overwhelmed by new cases’’.
Avong said that the government had tried by giving the centre, one doctor and one nurse.
“But sometimes we run out of drugs and other medical supplies because of the increasing number of people showing up.
“The truth is that government cannot do everything; so we are appealing to well-spirited people and organisation to support this humanitarian service that we are rendering.’’
NAN reports that the centre was one of four rape centres in the state where victims and other gender-based violence, are being given free counselling, medical and optional legal interventions. (NAN)