EU tasks FG, state govts to fund SARCs to end Sexual and Gender Based Violence


The European Union (EU) has asked the federal and state governments to take the battle against Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to new heights by funding the 41 existing Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) across the country.

The appeal came against the backdrop of the revelation by the EU that over a billion Naira has been expended so far on establishment and sustenance of SARCs across the country.

Speaking on Wednesday in Abuja at the 9th Network Conference of Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) – one of the activities lined up for the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence 2023 – the EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Samuela Isopi, disclosed that over 35,000 survivors have so far benefitted from the services of the centres across the country.

He said the federal and state governments need to take ownership of SARCs by adequately funding them.

Themed ‘Funding and Sustainability of Sexual Assault Referral Centres’, the event was organised by the European Union-funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC Phase II) Programme of International Initiative for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, funded by the European Union.

Isopi said the funding will go a long way to strengthen the centres to deliver on their mandate of providing free medical, counseling and support services to survivors of sexual violence.

While assuring that the EU is committed to ensuring that voices of victims are heard, Isopi insisted that the the establishment of specialised courts for sexual and gender-based violence cases across the country would go a long way in getting prompt justice and reducing incidents SGBV.

She said: “In Nigeria, the European Union has contributed over a billion naira in support of SARCs across the country and we will continue to advocate for more centres and for appropriate funding allocations at federal and state level to make them operational and sustainable.

“Addressing violence against women and girls requires a comprehensive and collective approach. We will continue to collaborate with key stakeholders in supporting legislative instruments.”

The Project Manager, Access to Justice and Co-ordinator, Network of Sexual Assault Referral Centres, RoLAC II, Oluwatoyosi Giwa, said SARCs were expected to provide free medical assistance, forensic medical examination, counseling and justice support services to survivors of the act.

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