By Fayia Moseray
In the quest to bolster access to justice for women and girls who face Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in the country, AdvocAid in collaboration with Trocaire and Legal Access for Women Yearning for Equal Rights ( LAWYERS) has completed a two-day training on the theme/topic: “Enhancing access to justice for SGBV survivors and promoting the rights of women and girls”.
The two-day interactive and educative training which took place on the 21st and 22nd July 2021 brought together police personnel mainly from the Family Support Unit (FSU) divisions from various police stations across Freetown. The all-important training was held at the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA) Conference Hall at Fort Street, Freetown.
Opening the training session, the Project Manager of AdvocAid who doubles as the EU Project Coordinator — Madam Margaret Namaganda noted that the training which is a Europen Union (EU) co-funded project, is a continuation of previous training organized by AdvocAid, Trocaire and LAWYERS on ‘enhancing access to justice for SGBV victims’ in Freetown, Bombali and Kenema districts; stating that the training will help to deepen the understanding of the participants on accessing justice for SGBV survivors.
Namaganda added that accessing justice for women and girls in the country is the key goal of AdvocAid; thus, the main reason the institution is doing its best to ensure that women and girls who encounter sexual and gender-based violence get justice.
She encouraged the participants to take the training seriously, urging them to put the theoretical knowledge into practice while working in their various stations.
The Legal Manager for AdvocAid — Julia Mary Gbloh, Esq., said that the training is to help open the eyes of the participants to the numerous gender-based violence incidences women and girls undergo in different homes. She underscored the need for the participants to be sensitive and reasonable while dealing with SGBV victims in their different stations, adding that SGBV victims should be handled with caution.
She noted that violence against women in any form, should be treated with the utmost importance it deserves; adding, women and girls are very vulnerable, thus, they deserve to be handled cautiously.
Gbloh, Esq., underscored the essence for parents not to send their girls into early marriage because it leads to gender-based violence.
She encouraged the participants to put into practice what they’ve learned in the two-days training.
The participants from the various police stations, individually, made salient contributions towards the topic they were trained on. They expressed thanks and appreciation to the trainers for the training. The participants promised to put into practice what they have been taught in the two-days intense but interactive training in their different police stations.
The participants pleaded with people who report SGBV cases to stop compromising those (cases) at home, saying such an act puts the police in the spotlight for compromising the matter. They similarly pleaded with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to be fast-tracking sexual and gender-based violence issues, so that victims would not get tired of the delay.
The training was climaxed by the distribution of certificates to all the participants, and snapshots by COVID-19 guidelines were taken.