The seventh annual conference of the Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) Network was held in collaboration with the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, the Federal Ministry of Justice, the FCT Judiciary, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, and the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The theme of the conference was ‘The Imperative for Special Courts for SGBV Cases’. The aim was to stimulate stakeholders’ commitment for the designation of special courts for sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) offences as a mechanism for addressing the slow trial and prosecution of these offences; and improving access to justice for victims of SGBV. Participants discussed opportunities, lessons learnt, best practices, and processes for the establishment and/or designation of special courts for SGBV cases.
The conference was attended by representatives from government, civil society and international organisations. The highlight was the launch of mock SGBV court trials by Nigeria’s Chief Justice, Tanko Muhammad, who was represented by Justice Amina Augie of the Supreme Court.
"Despite the remarkable expansion of the SARC initiative in Nigeria, the number of SGBV cases that are prosecuted are very few compared to the number of reports.”
The network facilitates an exchange of ideas, shares lessons learned, and promotes dialogue among SARCs, government institutions, and other stakeholders to strengthen support services provided to survivors of sexual violence. There are currently 32 SARCs in Nigeria, across 19 states and the FCT, many of which were established with support from British Council programmes. As at September 2021, the SARCs have assisted over 23,207 victims of sexual assault (over 70% are under 18 years of age).
The British Council Nigeria programmes have pioneered the establishment of SARCs across the country. Find out more here