As the lockdown to stop the spread of Coronavirus in Lagos continues, the city is witnessing an increase in domestic and sexual violence cases, SaharaReporters has gathered.
The lockdown has made it difficult for victims in self-isolation to avoid their abusers.
In an interview with SaharaReporters on Monday, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, Coordinator of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, revealed that the state had recorded an increase in cases of abuse since the lockdown started.
She noted that before the outbreak, the state used to record an average of eight cases daily.
She added that the figure had increased to about 50 per cent, which has made the state to introduce more helplines.
Vivour-Adeniyi said, “Before the lockdown, the LSDSVRT used to receive an average of eight new cases daily, since the lockdown came into effect, we started to receive an average of 13 new cases daily and this is coming from our major hotline.
“Because of this pandemic, we had to include two other hotlines and we have our USSD short code that people are taking advantage of to report, as well as social media.
“We have increased our accessibility and we have seen an increase in calls; people calling to report cases, get advice and psycho-social support as well as people calling on behalf of others.”
She stated that owing to the pandemic, the DSVRT has had to make use of virtual meetings to resolve those cases, adding that in extreme cases, the agency had to encourage abusers to leave the house.
She said, “During this period, because of the restriction on movement, provision of shelter is last resort when there is no other option.
“Options include survivors being moved to family members’ house. We have been able to insist or encourage the alleged abusers to leave the house for the wife and the children and we have had online mediation.
“We leverage on sexual assault referral centres and primary healthcare centres. We have 67 primary health care centres that provide sexual assault management services.
“If the incident has happened, the survivors need to have access to the test, which would be done and we need to be able to collect and present the evidence needed in securing a conviction.”
Vivour-Adeniyi urged victims and survivors of domestic or sexual violence to reach out to report any form of violence so as to get help.
She added, “Perpetrators of sexual and domestic violence may think because this lockdown is ongoing, they can act with impunity.
“The Lagos State Government would ensure that the long arm of the law catches up with such persons.”