In furtherance of the Spotlight Initiative programme to eliminate violence against women and girls, which kicked off in February this year, an NGO, Project Alert on Violence Against Women, midweek, held a Webinar on Covid-19 & Sexual and Gender-based Violence Response in Lagos.

The Webinar, which brought together stakeholders in the battle against gender violence, the police and the media, centered on the surge in domestic and sexual violence, which has trailed the Covid-19 lockdowns.

The speakers were Lola Vivour Adeniyi, Coordinator, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSP Bala Elkanah, PPRO, Lagos State Police Command, Praise Fowowe, motivational speaker and child sexual abuse activist and Susan Ihuoma Kelechi, a disability inclusion advocate.

Opening the discussion, Executive Director, Project Alert, Josephine Effah-Chukwuma, said the event was to “take a look at the sharp increase in domestic and sexual violence” and “try to get a grip of what is going on and respond effectively.”

Mrs Adeniyi confirmed the increase in cases during the lockdown, stating that her team had to move its activities online, but regretted that people found it a bit hard to adapt to the new method.

She also cited challenges such as poor funding, suspension of court sittings, but noted that her team has been up to the challenge.

DSP Elkanah reiterated the police commitment to the cause but lamented that the lockdown made movement a little bit difficult for his colleagues.

Fowowe, on his part espoused the idea of Open Day for families, whereby all would state their grouses in a friendly atmosphere and calmly iron them out.

The campaign later moved to Makoko and Yaba communities, where the men were enlightened on how to avoid and handle sexual and domestic violence cases going forward.

Facilitators were Dayo Adeyemi of The catalyst Men Network International and Dr. Princess Olufemi-Kayode, founder, Media Concern Initiative for Women and Children.

The Spotlight Initiative Project is a programme of the United Nations and European Union.

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