Lawrence Enyoghasu, Lagos
The Ogun State Government in collaboration with the Ogun State Police Command has launched a new police unit, Family Support Unit, to ensure proper information and tackling of rape and other gender-based violence cases.
Launching the newly furnished bungalow for the new unit, The First Lady of the State, Mrs Bamidele Abiodun, who spearhead the partnership which held yesterday at Ota Area Command, stated that creating an environment for victims of rape and gender-based violence can come forward and speak up without fear if they are experiencing any form of violence is the first step to recovery, and hopefully to a future free of abuse.
“The Family Support Unit (FSU) is a haven. I am happy that we are opening this FSU today, and as I said earlier in the year, a robust approach to information, education, and communication on domestic violence is needed across our state. People need to, not only know that the Family Support Unit exists, but they can come here to be safe. Informational programs should be extended to the entire community and people should be encouraged to come forward. Also, survivors should not be made to face societal stigma just because a family member is being duly punished under the law for a crime they committed.
“Another reason why continuous enlightenment is critical to the elimination of domestic violence is so that the community can serve as part of the system of support for survivors. The FSU is a temporary location, and survivors must return to the community. When they do, they should be able to find the support that they need to move forward with their lives,” she stated.
While giving his welcome address, the Area Commander, DCP Monday Agbonika said that the vision came during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic. He added that there was no day the command didn’t have to attend to at least one family violence case.
“There has been a high rate of gender-based violence. About six out of ten cases of gender-based violence are not reported because victims are always traumatized; by the action and reaction of the people around them and by the bottleneck system created by the government but with the new measures being put in place, there is a good chance of nailing eight out of 10 reported cases. we are proud to say that we have trained our personnel on a global standard,” he stated.
Among the dignitaries that graced the event was the Olota of Ota, HRM Prof. Adeyemi Obalanlege, who stated that his office has refused to attend to gender-based violence because “offenders seem to have sheered wickedness for their victims. Left to me, I would advise that the government give stiffer punishment to offenders. The older you are, the more the punishment.”