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NGOs decry out-of-court settlements for SGBV cases

NGOs decry out-of-court settlements for SGBV cases

Some Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have decried out-of-court settlements in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) cases in Edo.

The NGOs made their feelings known during a Stakeholders’ meeting organised by the Global Women for Quality and Sustainable Development (GWSD) in collaboration with international funders, in Benin.

It was gathered that the stakeholders’ dialogue meeting is the fourth quarterly meeting held in Benin with the theme ‘Mitigating Gender Based Violence Against Women and Girls through Protection Action’ in Benin”.

The groups said that perpetrators of SGBV never get punished for their acts due to out-of-court settlements.

Speaking, Ms Mariam Kadiri-Ezolome, Executive Director, GWSD, said: “there is a lot of reporting of SGBV cases which goes to show that we are gradually breaking the culture of silence and creating awareness.

“But we have a lot of cases that do not go beyond the police station and this is a big challenge in mitigation of GBV.

“The cases of child defilement and rape are on the increase despite the level of work NGOs and CSOs are doing.

“We need more synergy between stakeholders to ensure that we mitigate this menace.”

Also contributing, Stella Ojemen, Coordinator, Child Protection Network, Edo, said the issue of out-of-court settlement of rape and defilement cases was worrisome.

Ogiamen said that NGOs as well as Civil Society Organisations put a lot of effort to ensure that rape cases are reported so that law enforcement agencies can swing into action.

“However, it is regrettable that most victims of rape and defilement do not get justice due to out-of-court settlement as well as slow dispensation of justice.

“SGBV is a criminal matter and the issue of out-of-court settlement should not come to play. Crimes are not settled, they should be investigated.

“Non-willingness to take matters to court, pressure from parents of victims as well as perpetrators to drop cases are big challenges to our job”, she said.

Similarly, Mrs Ronke Ojeikere, Initiator of the Society to Heighten Awareness of Women and Children Abuse (SOTHAWACA), said “we are not moving forward in the fight against GBV”.

She decried situations where the police tell victims of GBV  to pay money to be used for logistics as well as to investigate rape cases.

NGOs decry out-of-court settlements for SGBV cases

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