Experts Call on Tertiary Institutions to Implement Policies On Sexual And Gender-Based Violence

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The Women Advocates Research & Documentation Centre (WARDC) has called on tertiary institutions to create and implement standard policies to protect students from sexual and gender-based violence in the system.

Mrs Nihinlola Aluko-Olokun, member, Board of Directors of the centre made the call at a two-day consultative forum organised by the WARDC in partnership with EU and British Council on Thursday in Lagos.

The forum is themed: Consultative Forum on System Strengthening Against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Educational Institutions with Critical Stakeholders.

She said it was necessary to put SGBV policies in place in educational institutions as well as made these policies known to all the stakeholders in the university system including the students.

“This forum is aimed at supporting LASU and other tertiary institutions across the country in strengthening the fight against sexual and gender-based violence.

“Sexual and gender-based violence cuts across all genders, class and cultures, and has serious consequences for the victims, which includes, low self-esteem, depression, early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.

“SGBV is capable of adversely affecting students’ ability to achieve their potentials, which means that stakeholders must be united in seeking an end to it in tertiary institutions,” Aluko-Olokun said.

She added that both male and female suffers from SGBV which meant that every citizen needed to be protected.

 “Statistics of SGBV in Nigeria shows that at least one in every four girl-child or women have been subjected to one form of sexual violence or other.

 “Students or victims should be encouraged to speak out and reports to a necessary authority in the institution when they have such issues.

 “Also, a mechanism should be put in place to investigate, track down and discipline any offending parties,” she said.

 Dr Joseph Ayeni, Head of LASU Counselling Unit, said that the institution had generated some policies on SGBV and also sensitised the students and staffs, by distributing the policy booklet on SGBV to them.

Ayeni said that it meant everyone in LASU was aware of the SGBV policies, especially the staffs, in order to avoid and prevent sexual harassment cases in the institution.

“About 8,000 LASU students had been trained on how to deal with sexual harassment by an organisation.

“In LASU, we have a group called SGBV response team, which includes staffs and students and they respond immediately to any reported case,” he said.

 Miss Tofunmi Ajayi-Obisesan, the institution’s  Student Union Vice President, said that students, staffs and parents had the responsibilities to fight against SGBV.

Ajayi-Obisesan said that they would continue to work with the university’s management to implement more policies on SGBV.

“Sexual harassment is not really rampant in LASU, maybe due to the standard policies and measures put in place by the management.

“I am part of the LASU SGBV response team, we always immediately attend to any reported case.

“We student union leaders, will continue to sensitise the students, especially the new ones, during their orientation ceremony,” she added

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