The state government of Imo has opened a sexual assault referral centre.

Chioma Uzodimma, the governor’s wife in Imo State, has stepped up the state’s zero-tolerance campaign against sexual and gender-based violence, particularly against women.

Uzodinma made the announcement while launching the sexual assault referral centre (SARC) in Owerri, just as the global 16-day campaign against gender-based violence gets underway.

 

Speaking to an audience of women and other stakeholders interested in eradicating gender-based violence globally in Owerri, the Imo First Lady noted that the sexual assault referral centre (SARC) would be a one-stop project that prioritizes the needs and rights of sexual assault survivors such as screening and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, treatment and care for young sex abuse victims, and psychological services by way of counselling support.

Others, Uzodimma said include the provision of legal services to victims, provision of shelter, general rehabilitation services as well as availing victims of information and education.

She said 36 First Ladies in Nigeria as a collective had taken a decision against gender-based violence (GBV) in the country, and through their efforts, have adopted policies like the GBV mitigation action plan, GBV coordinating mechanism on the implementation of violence against person prohibition Act, GBV survivors funds, among others.

The Imo governor’s wife said the inauguration of the SARC signposts another bold step by the Nigerian Governors Wives Forum, through the Nigeria Governors Wives Against Gender-based Violence (NGWA-GBV), to seek support for sexually-abused women to overcome the trauma that could arise from the menace.

Explaining that her office is excited to be part of the efforts to achieve an enduring result in that direction, Mrs Uzodimma expressed gratitude to the wife of the former Governor of Ekiti State, Erelu Bisi Fayemi, who, she said, attracted support from donor agencies to fund the programme.

On the newly inaugurated Centre, Mrs. Uzodimma said plans are afloat by her office to engage doctors, nurses, psychologists and lawyers who would provide medical and legal services to the victims.

She thanked other First Ladies for their untiring support to eradicate gender-based violence wherever it exists in the country, even as she implored religious groups, Civil Society Organisations, volunteers and the general public to come on board the effort to rid the society of ills plaguing it which is in sync with Governor Hope Uzodimma’s 3R mantra administration that includes safeguarding the most vulnerable citizens of Imo.

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