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Despite the prevalence of sexual violence in Nigeria, there are limited facilities to help victims, with many victims reluctant to report crimes for fear of the social stigma associated with rape. The quality of response to sexual assault and victim support provided by government agencies is often inadequate, and largely inaccessible to many citizens.
The Sexual Assault Referral Centres were established to address some of these gaps by providing confidential, free of charge and client-focused services across a variety of areas, including: immediate emergency medical treatment; forensic medical examination services by specially trained doctors and nurses; immediate and on-going counselling support from specialised experts; support in contacting the LEAs, social welfare department or CSOs where appropriate; and advice and on-going support throughout any investigation and prosecution.
The first SARC was established in 2013, and there are now 30 which provide support across 17 states. Between July 2013 and September 2020, the SARCs assisted over 19,000 victims of sexual assault, over 70% of whom are under the age of 18 years old.
Deputy Director Africa and Head of Unit, INTPA A3 - Western Africa
Francesca di Mauro
Component Manager, Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption Programme, British Council
Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nigeria and ECOWAS
Chairperson, Network of Sexual Assualt Referral Centres in Nigeria
Founder, Mirabel Centre Lagos
Itoro Eze Anaba
Technical Team Leader, Managing Conflict in Nigeria Programme, British Council
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