LAGOS DSVA HOLDS A ONE-DAYY ENGAGEMENT OF CRITICAL STAKEHOLDERS TO IMPROVE ACCESS TO LEGAL JUSTICE FOR SGBV SURVIVORS 

The Chief Judge of Lagos State, Justice Kazeem Alogba, says the State’s judiciary is committed to working with all stakeholders to create a more responsive, effective and survivor-centred justice system. Alogba, who stated this at a one-day engagement of critical stakeholders on improving access to legal justice for survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV, which was held at the Marriott Hotel Ikeja yesterday, said the judiciary was critical in ensuring access to justice for SGBV survivors. Hon. Justice Alogba who was represented by the Lagos High Court judge, Justice Rahman Oshodi, said the challenges SGBV survivors face requires a collaborative efforts from all stakeholders adding that the judiciary can not do it alone.  His Lordship  said the Judiciary need the support and partnership of law enforcement agencies, civil society organisations and healthcare providers to create a holistic and integrated approach to justice and called on all stakeholders to work together to break down the silos that often impede the effective prosecution of SGBV cases to bridge the gaps, overcome the challenges, and seize the opportunities for reform. The First Lady of Lagos State, Dr. Mrs. Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo Olu who was represented  by the Senior Special Assistant, (Special Duties) Mrs. Scholastica  Oyeniyi-Abas noted that  despite the awareness and support of these government agencies, offenders still continue to perpetuate SGBV, she therefore solicited support of the judiciary in ensuring that they walk the talk. According to her,  Her Excellency’ s stance  is to discourage the culture of silence and on this premise Her Office  has embarked on certain activities to further propagate the state’s mandate of zero tolerance to SGBV, for instance by inspecting the SGBV center in an effort to scale up the fight against SGBV.  Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi in her welcome remarks said the purpose of the engagement was to identify and address systemic barriers and challenges hindering effective adjudication, stressing that it also focus on promoting survivor-centered approaches to justice and support systems and stated that this dialogue was important to identify & tackle challenges, review laws and probe processes, she urged participants to share their experiences which will help to increase the effectiveness of the processes in place.  Vivour-Adeniyi restated the agency’s commitment to ensure that legal system was accessible and upholds the dignity of every survivor of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, SGBV. Hon. Ladi Ajomale , Chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Petitions, Human Rights and LASIEC gave his goodwill message and urged partners to a call for action and for stakeholders to be ambassadors against SGBV. He stated that participants should look for ways to be effective in the system by creating awareness, educating and advocacy for survivors reintegration into the society.  While delivering her good will message, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, Mrs Titilayo ShittaBey Jeje  who also represented the Hon. Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Lawal Pedro, SAN commended the Agency for putting together the program. She noted the collaborative efforts of the Lagos DSVA with other MDAs which had ensured resourcefulness, which she stressed was quite commendable. She also highlighted the increase in the number of cases and convictions and said there was a need to keep improving the laws, processes, identify challenges and see to tackling the challenges.  The Commissioner of Police,  Lagos State Command, CP Adegoke Fayode  whilst delivering the first presentation on Challenges, Gaps and opportunities from the Police perspective encouraged proactive efforts to put protective measures in place.  He stated that SGBV extends beyond victims and addressing this issue can lead to healthier and more equitable communities.  The Managing Partner, Partnership for Justice, Mrs. Itoro Eze Anaba reminded participants that we all have a responsibility to listen and take actions in support of SGBV survivors. She encouraged survivors to speak out, be heard and stated that she understood that societal pressure stifles survivors to stay quiet and it is incumbent on stakeholders not to extinguish the hopes of survivors.   of survivors, that cultural norms contribute to the normalization of SGBV, that the police play a crucial role in reducing SGBV and they are tasked with not only upholding the law.  Dr. Oluwajimi Shodipo delivering the  second presentation noted  that there are poor research outputs and publications. Data should be documented, shared and reviewed to give medical experts sufficient information to analyze. He stated that there should be a clear policy on DNA and the National Guideline has prescribed certain forms of evidence that should suffice if DNA is inaccessible. He also stated that there should be regular training of healthcare workers due to the continued brain drain of talent relocating out of the country. In summary, he encouraged fostering more partnership & collaboration of law enforcement agencies, MDAs and civil society.  Dr. Martins gave his presentation on gaps, challenges and opportunities on accessing legal justice.  He stated that knowledge and advocacy from dialogues like this should be taken to the grassroots. Some of the gaps he listed include: investigation gaps, lack of prompt reporting, lack of prompt visit to the scene of the crime and post trial challenges affecting the DPP. Opportunities/solutions like collaboration, cooperation and coordination of partners and stakeholders. Finally he gave statistics of convictions obtained by the DPP: *in 2023 62 convictions were obtained, so far in 2024, 22 convictions have been secured  for SGBV cases and 2 decisions obtained by the DPP that were appealed have been confirmed be the confirmed by the Court of Appeal* Hon. Justice Rahman  Oshodi during his presentation placed emphasis on meeting the evidential standard of proof. Burden and presumption of proof being of great importance as provided under Section 139 of the Evidence Act. He urged the DPP and Police to have a stronger collaborative effort in establishing this burden of proof as there are impediments like eye witness testimony, hearsay evidence and corroboration in certain instances. He stated that loopholes like Section 9(3)(4) of the ACJL which have been cited severally by defense counsels are tools

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COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT TEAM STORMS BADAGRY

The Community Engagement Team of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency conducted multiple sensitization and awareness programs in Badagry to raise continued awareness on the SGBV Message in the whole of Lagos. The Executive Secretary, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, reaffirmed the agency’s commitment to spreading the message about sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and the State zero tolerance towards its eradication throughout the state. His Royal Majesty, Oba Ajara of Agamathen,  Alaiyeluwa Oba Agono Toniyon I Aholu of Ajara Agamathen welcomed the team to raise the SGBV awareness message among his community members in commemoration of His 61st birthday celebration.  HRM emphasized the importance of the initiative and called on the residents within and outside the axis to make do with the important details the DSVA team would share. Additionally, His Royal Majesty, Aholu Akarakumo of Badagry, Alaiyeluwa Oba Travil AwogbemiNunayon provided the DSVA Team with the opportunity to sensitize his community and he urged community members not to remain silent and to report cases of SGBV in their locality. Mr. Damilare Adewusi, Head of Community Engagement Unit, educated participants on emerging SGBV issues and reporting procedures. An extensive Q&A session followed, which the community members appreciated. SGBV awareness materials were distributed in both communities, and the toll-free line 08000-333-333 was shared.

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Lagos DSVA trains Religious Counsellors On SGBV Prevention and Response

The Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, DSVA has commenced training  of religious Counsellors on Sexual and Gender Based Violence. This initiative, which is in partnership with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Christian Association of Nigeria was borne out of the fact that the State recognises the indispensable role the religious institutions play in shaping belief, confronting norms and will continue to enhance their reservoir of knowledge to become better advocates for change within their respective communities. Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi mentioned that domestic and  sexual violence in marriage is spreading its tentacles and demands collective attention to combat, stressing that the state government remains resolute to safeguard the sanctity of every individual, regardless of gender or background. According to her “We know that religion plays a huge role in shaping mindset, directing behaviours and we also know the role of the religious clerics as well as the role marriage counsellors in different religious institutions play in promoting and discouraging perpetration of Sexual and Gender-Based violence.” “We thought it is expedient to bring them together, enlighten them about various forms of sexual and gender-based acts and equip them with skills as they go about their counselling duties, either during pre Counselling for intending couples  or post Counselling for  married couples.” The data from the office reveals that at least 60 percent of the survivors of gender-based violence have previously reported to their religious clerics before reporting to the agency and sometimes they deploy mediation as a form of alternative dispute resolution and yet the issue persisted. It has therefore become compelling to build capacity of  counselors in the religious institutions to be able to counsel appropriately and know when to refer cases accordingly.   More importantly, this program is designed to infuse key issues such as psychometric tests to assess compatibility, red flags, coping mechanisms , love codes and other relevant topics into the pre marital Counselling offered by religious bodies for intending couples.  Resource facilitator at the training and CEO Praise Fowowe Ltd, Mrs. Motolani Falabi, emphasised the need for the individuals going into marriage to understanding their identities and what a marriage is, before picking up that responsibility and ensuring they know the building blocks to have a successful marriage. Falabi added that the role of the counselors is to ensure that they teach the prospective couple not based on culture, religion, or native intelligence, but must be done professionally and people that will be engaging them are better equipped and not working based on culture. She said “The future of the society is at the mercy of our marriage and the couple must have someone that can mentor them. So, marriage must have a vision, value, and focus which invariably will determine the kind of children that will be churned out into the society.  Family is the production factory of the society the and future of our world rests on good parenting and if we get it right, then, we can have a better world.” The over 50 religious marriage counsellors  appreciated the state government for bringing to the fore issues that will make swift prevention and response to sexual violence in marriage, particularly how marriage counselors can confront and restore peace to homes. They emphasized the need to intensify advocacy on premarital engagement by professional counselors and be able to build the seemingly poor marital understanding that is affecting most marriages today. Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni LAGOS DSVA 20/3/2024

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Lagos DSVA Engages Epe With Door To Door Activities 

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency has  moved the Door to Door engagement to Epe on its continual awareness and engagement activity.  The community members were informed on the essence of reporting issues of SGBV as the timely report is crucial in investigation. SGBV Awareness was taken to Noforija and Matakobi- T Junction areas of Epe land.  The following areas in Epe were also engaged: Ajijola Anobi Mosque, Imokun Community Central mosque, Celestial Church of Christ – Apata Ayeraye Model Parish, GO Hospital, Emes Nur/Pry School, UPE Primary School, Scholars International School, Redeemed Christian Church of God, More Blessing Society Mosque, Union of Tipper Employer of Nigeria and their environs. The Agency’s mandate was shared in these communities and the need to report through the toll free line, 08000333333 was re-emphasized. At the close of the rounds, an estimated 22,000 persons were reached with the SGBV message.  Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni LAGOS DSVA 15/3/2024

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Lagos DSVA Holds International Women’s Day Symposium 

The International Women’s day symposium was organized by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency on Friday 15th of March  2024 at Protea Hotel, Ikeja, with the campaign  theme for the international women’s day celebration 2024  “INSPIRE INCLUSION”.  This year’s campaign theme underscores the crucial role of inclusion in achieving gender equality and calls for action to break down barriers, challenge stereotypes, and create environments where all women are valued and respected.   The Executive Secretary of the Lagos state Domestic and sexual violence agency, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi  gave a brief outline of  the event’s objectives which was in line with the theme ‘inspire inclusion’  She stated that the month of march has been specially reserved to celebrate women all over the world and gave a brief history how the international women day started.  She added that the program will help to raise awareness on the kind of stigmatization that exists, encouraging inclusion for women whilst also encouraging SGBV Survivors. The Rule of Law and Anti Corruption program(ROLAC) coordinator, Mrs Ajibola Ijimakinwa  gave an overview of what ROLAC is all about. She stated that it is all about strengthening the rule of law, curbing corruption, increasing access to justice for women, children and persons with disabilities.  The first Panel session addressed with the different facets of stigmatization and its effects on survivors and the society and had panelists which included Mrs Debola Oni, Director, Dayspring Helps Ministry, Dr Funmilayo Akinola, Chief Consultant Psychiatrist, Federal Neuro Psychiatrist Hospital, Yaba, Mrs Bunmi Orekoya, Head, Alternative Dispute Resolution, DSVA, and a Survivor Mrs Oluwatosin Soyode and was  moderated by Mrs Oyinkansola Momoh, Programs Officer from the DSVA. The session kicked off with the moderator asking about their various experiences in the workplace or family setting. Mrs Debola Oni talked about the stigmatization by religious organizations and how these organizations are not doing their best to support women from abusive homes due to prejudice.  Dr. Funmiola Akinola talked about the mental health of the survivors. She stated that most survivors come with different mental health issues like depression, anxiety disorders, suicide Ideation and also laid emphasis on the dangers of self stigmatization  Mrs Bunmi Orekoya talked about cultural stigmatization which prevents most women from speaking up, she stated that women should be enlightened on the importance of speaking up and  they should also be empowered.  The survivor mrs Oluwatosin Soyode gave an insight on how the most hurtful type of stigmatization is the one from family members. She also added that religious organizations should take the lead in setting policies and action plan towards Domestic abuse of their members. She commended DSVA for putting up a program like this to help survivors. She spoke to survivors to khow they need themselves and have a part to play in accepting themselves because they are worthy.  The second session was moderated by Ms. Tomisin Akinwunmi with the topic- How can we make the society more inclusive for young women and persons with disabilities. ,the speakers were  Mrs Adeolu who represented the General Manager, LASODA Mrs Adenike Oyetunde, Director, Center for Women’s Health and Information, Mrs Atinuke Ofunkoya and The Founder, Live Again Foundation Ms. Enifome Ogbimi. The moderator began by asking how the society has helped persons with disabilities with employment opportunities and how we can dismantle the exclusion of Persons living with disabilities from health care, education and social organizations.  Mrs Adenike responded that the educational system in Nigeria has a huge role to play in helping persons with disabilities and emphasized on the need for them to improve their action.Ms  Tomisin asked Mrs Atinuke Odunkoya on how we can include young women in decision making,  She responded that women need to know what they want to be in life not just following whatever life gives to them. She also  talked about the need for creation of mentorships. Ms  Enifome added that personal branding is a very important factor in every woman’s life. The third session was tagged Confidence and self esteem interactive session facilitated by Mrs Oyinkansola Momoh and Program Officer, USAID Youth-Powered Ecosystem to Advance Urban Adolescent Health (YPEAUH) Mrs Nancy Ufia. Mrs Nancy concluded by appreciating participants for accepting the invitation and encouraged everyone to join hands to work towards a better future as the event was brought to a close by Head of Public Affairs, DSVA,  Mrs Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni LAGOS DSVA 15/3/2024

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Lagos DSVA Door-To-Door Engagement Moves To Apapa LGA

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency in continuation of its Door to Door engagement to kick SGBV out of Lagos, through continual awareness and engaging the community members on the essence of reporting, has moved the door-to-door awareness to Apapa LGA. The Community Development Associations (CDAs) reached were Ire Akari, Abraham Adesanya, Marinas, Anjorin, Crowther, Marine Road Waterside, Ijora Central, Aro, Odofin, Tile Gate, Irorun and Anuoluwapo CDAs. The Door to Door engagement crew reached out to locations amongst which were Apapa General Hospital,  Anjorin market, Most High Kiddies School, Oloruntosin Central Mosque Marine Road, and other Apapa environs.  The residents were informed of the Agency’s mandate and the need to report through the toll-free line, 08000333333.The Community Development Council (CDC) Chairman, Mr. Adebiyi Nathaniel, and his council members received the group from the Lagos DSVA and assisted them in navigating through the CDAs.  The Community Engagement Officers were able to reach out to over 30000 persons at the engagement in Apapa LGA. Adejoke Ladenegan-OginniLagos DSVA 14/3/2024

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Lagos DSVA, Oshodi-Isolo Market Women Inspires Inclusion on IWD Market Fiesta

Inspiring Inclusion, critical for Ending Sexual and Gender Based Violence  in commemoration of the International Women’s Day, the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency DSVA organized a Market fiesta wherein over 160 Market women at the Oshodi Isolo market were purposefully engaged on Friday 8th of March, 2024. The Executive Secretary DSVA, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi in her opening remark commended Eko Women for their resilience, grit, and tenacity, despite the numerous challenges that plague them in the society.  She added that the campaign theme for the year “Inspire inclusion ” spoke volumes of the need to re-order the present-day structure as women have passed through cultural biases, political imbalances, discrimination, and stereotypes but never given up their dreams and aspirations. Still, in her meeting objective, Vivour-Adeniyi assured the women that the Agency’s commitment to ensuring Justice to cases remains germane.  During the event, Mrs Tope Ademola of the Alternative Dispute Resolution gave an overview of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) to the women and cascaded the holistic and essential services provided by the State Government, at no cost for survivors. She encouraged the women to speak up if and when SGBV occurs in their communities as they are mandated reporters whilst reiterating the utmost confidentiality is guaranteed. She noted that the toll-free line was available 24/7 and calls could be made in indigenous languages, including the Yoruba language.    Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni LAGOS DSVA 9/3/2024

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Door-To-Door Engagement Activity Conducted At Eti-Osa Lga

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency has stressed the need for continual engagement for the residents of Lagos State on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, in light of this, Door to Door engagement activities were conducted at Eti Osa LGA on the 7th of March, 2024.  The Executive Secretary DSVA Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi stressed that harmful gender norms and attitudes continue to persist, perpetuating inequality and limiting individuals’ potential.  These norms dictate how men and women should behave, dress, and interact with others based on their gender. The reinforced stereotypes can be damaging to both men and women, leading to discrimination, violence, and limited opportunities for their personal growth.  She stressed that challenging harmful gender norms and attitudes is essential in creating a more equitable society where individuals are free to express themselves authentically without fear of judgment or reprisal.  With the aid of the Eti Osa Community Development Council (CDC) Chairperson, Chief Mrs. Wosilat Akinbajo Eletu Edibo and her team members, the Agency was able to sensitize ten (10) Community Development Associations (CDAs) which include: Orile Ilasan, Iroko Awe, Ilasan Housing Estate Jakande, Gbara, Mayegun, Aro, Ologolo, Baruwa, Igbo EFon and Okun Alfa CDAs and the Gbara Central Mosque.   The support services and the importance of reporting through the toll-free line – 08000333333 were related to them. Souvenirs and educational materials were distributed to the residents with an estimated number of 32000 people were reached.    Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni LAGOS DSVA 8/3/2024

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260 Students Now SGBV Peer Educators In Queens And Kings Club In Education District 2 

The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency has  concluded a six weeks training for selected students in selected private and public secondary schools of the Lagos State Education District 2, and held an induction ceremony to inaugurate the  students into the Clubs.  The induction ceremony which took place at the Ojota Junior Secondary School Hall, had in attendance 260 trained students who were drawn from 13 schools.  The Executive Secretary, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency, DSVA, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi In her welcome address, appreciated the students, Facilitators, Patrons and Matrons, for their attendance, dedication and attention in the past six weeks and also appreciated the Tutor General and Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Anike Adekanye and her team for their dedication, support and commitment in making this a reality. Vivour-Adeniyi reiterated that the initiative was curated for the students in the quest to end SGBV in schools and these trained students would now go on to be peer educators in their schools as well as their communities . During the course of the training, facilitators from the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency taught students on a series of topics including Gender Based Violence, Femininity, Sexual and Reproductive Health, Anger Management, Child’s Rights Law, amongst other interesting modules while prominent members of the society such as General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens, Mrs. Adetoun Popoola, Coordinator, Child Protection Network, Lagos Chapter, Mrs. Aderonke Oyelakin, Co-Founder, Center for Women’s Health and Information (CEWHIN), Mrs. Atinuke Odukoya, amongst others served as Mentors and took the session on Grit, Tenacity and Resilience.  Giving the Charge by Mentors, Mr. Kazeem Olanipekun, encouraged the students to take to heart everything that they had learnt in the course of the six weeks, make the most of it and go on to make themselves, the agency and the Lagos State Government proud. The event came to a conclusion when students took a pledge of Allegiance and the Affirmation to stay true to their learnings during the six weeks training and also be peer educators.  Mrs. Adeniyi, the Director, Guidance and Counselling Unit, Education District 2, in her closing remark, appreciating the Lagos State Government and the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency for their consistency and commitment to curbing the Gender-Based Violence menace in the state.  The certificate of completion was presented to participants, including students, facilitators, patrons and matrons. Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni Lagos DSVA 7/3/2024

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Lagos State Conducts 1-day training program on eradication of SGBV for Paramilitary officers.

The Lagos State Government has again engaged over 100 officers from the Lagos Neighbourhood and Safety Corps (LNSC), Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), Peace Corps and Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) on the 1st of March, 2024 at the LCCI Hall, Ikeja on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Existing State Laws and Policies and Exploring Existing State Structures. The Executive Secretary, Lagos DSVA, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi said that the whole essence is to equip the officers with the right tools and knowledge to act as first responders of SGBV in the State. “Sexual and Gender-Based Violence is a globally pervasive human rights violation which the Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has declared zero tolerance for all forms of this menace.  The representative from the four offices gave their goodwill messages. The names of the officers that delivered their speech are: Peace Corps: Amb. Patriot Rilwan Abiola Onitolo. Deputy State commandant (training and operations),  LNSC Mr. Adetiloye Ayodeji James Training officer representing the G.M. Kai Eniola Adeniyi Micheal Assistant chief law enforcement environmental sanitation officer (HOD training), NSCDC Superintendent of Corp. Idris kuku Abimbola. Facilitator at the training, Mrs Ronke Oyelakin, the Coordinator of Child Protection Network, Lagos Chapter explained the various forms of abuse, preventive measures and the techniques of psychological first aid. She brought her session to a close by engaging the officers in a role-play to further propagate the message. Ms. Tope Oyedija, the head of the Empowerment unit at Lagos DSVA whilst taking the second discourse explained the legal implications of the various forms of abuse. Mr. Damilare Adewusi during his discussion also laid bare the available support services and the need to always call the toll-free line: 08000333333 when cases of SGBV occur within the communities.  Taking the Vote of thanks, various representatives from the different offices expressed appreciation to the State government and the DSVA for the training Adejoke Ladenegan-Oginni Lagos DSVA 5th of March, 2024

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