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NAPTIP to Establish Sex Offenders Register

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•RoLAC, stakeholders provide official gazzet copy of VAPP Act

Godsgift Onyedinefu

 

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has announced plans to establish a sex offenders register which will contain names of perpetrators.

Director NAPTIP , Ms.Julie Okah-Donli informed that the aim of the sex register which will be distributed to relevant agencies is to shame offenders and make it easy for agencies to detect perpetrators thereby preventing further cases of sexual violence.

Okah-Donli disclosed this at the weekend during a stakeholders meeting in the implementation of Violence against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act in Abuja organised by the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption (ROLAC).

She revealed that sex offenders have been caught in shelters provided for victims of Violence where they continue in their act undetected. She also lamented that cases of violence especially against women and children is still on the rise.

The DG further lamented that FCT lacks functional and effective shelters.

“We need to have effective shelters for victims of Violence in FCT, NAPTIP is doing its best to house the victims for now, but there is a need to establish more shelters to take care of increasing number of victims of Violence in the six area council,” she said.

She stated that a lot still needs to be done to prevent cases of violence against Persons. She also informed that NAPTIP is working on a 3- digit short code, a number to call for help as regards cases of violence.

Okah-Donli also said violence go on as a result of ignorance on the part of the victims, “there is therefore a need to create massive awareness, embark on national orientation, because if people don’t know their rights then they won’t know when they are being violated or when to report cases” she said.

She however commended efforts by the Rule of Law and Anti-corruption, ROLAC for providing gazetted copies of the VAPP Act of 2015 which “is a step forward in ensuring the protection of women and children who are victims of violence in our society.

“The gazetted copies of the Act will serve judicial, administrative and informative purposes, we thank ROLAC for the laudable achievement,” she said.

Earlier, the Programme Manager of RoLAC, Ms. Priscilla Ankut, said it commissioned an assessment to determine the extent of implementation of VAPP Act in FCT and recommend possible strategies that would advance the implementation of VAPP in FCT.

Ankut noted that the assessment found out that the VAPP act has not been published in an official Gazette and also the need to equip the FCT SGBV Response Team Secretariat and therefore recommended that RoLAC provides support in these areas among others.

In the light of the above, she said,  RoLAC facilitated the process of gazetting the VAPP and also the refurbishment of the FCT SGBV Response Team secretariat.

“The essence of these interventions is to boost Sexual and Gender Based Violence prevention and support to SGBV victims. The FCT SGBV Response Team secretariat will operate a helpline to provide support for survivors of Gender based violence, provide support for records, referrals and documentation; the official Gazette of the VAPP will provide stakeholders with the official publication of the VAPP Act and its content for the purposes of dissemination and ease of reference, thereby adding to the credibility of the law being enforced and eliminate any possibility of misapplication,” she said.

She noted the objectives of the meeting to include: Update on actions and efforts of stakeholders towards the implementation of VAPP Act; Public Presentation of the official Gazette Copy of the VAPP Act; and Commissioning of the FCT SGBV Response Team Secretariat.

According to Ankut, stakeholders will be provided with the official gazette copy of VAPP Act.

She noted that the commissioning of the FCT SGBV Response Team would also lead to increase awareness on RoLAC efforts towards tackling issues around Sexual and Gender Based Violence in FCT, increase reporting of SGBV cases and improve response system thereby contributing to the implementation of the VAPP act in the FCT.

In the long-term, she said, it will lead to the realisation the programmes outcomes in particular- Improved access to justice for women and girls.


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