-negligence in arrests and convictions of perpetrators
August 4, 2017 By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone (HRC-SL) has expressed grave concern over the rise of incidence of sexual and gender based violence cases across the country.
The 2016 National Crime Statistics revealed that the Family Support Unit of the Sierra Leone Police recorded 11,302 SGBV cases across the six police command regions.
Out of the 11,362 cases, 9,135 were domestic violence, 2,149 sexual penetration with 78 recorded as rape cases.
According to the Chairman of the commission, Dr. Usman Jesse Fornah, there is negligence on the part of the authorities to arrest and convict perpetrators of SGBV.
He was speaking in the conference of the commission yesterday during an engagement with stakeholders, including Magistrates, police and law officers department on the reasons for the rise and what could be done to reduce if not eradicate it.
Dr. Fornah stated that a reversal of the patriarchal attitudes that hinders SGBV survivors’ protection and redress can be seen when it is fully recognised as a gross human rights violation, and that law enforcement agents become socialized and capacitated to treat it, as well as providing commensurate services to survivors.
He added that the application of the national frameworks to addressing the continued occurrence of SGBV in the country are intercepted by weak structures and systems accompanied by socialized cultures that close their eyes to those cases, and in particular violations against women.
Speaker after speaker emphasized the need for thorough sensitization to be carried out for people, especially those in communities to know the implications and what the law says about SGBV.
Magistrate Hannah Bonnie of the Freetown Magistrate Court No.2, called for institutional collaboration in handling such cases, as well as the need to revisit the Saturday Court to look specifically on rape cases.
She raised concern with regards results coming Rainbow Centre, especially those that have to do with sexual penetration.
Also, Principal Magistrate Albert Moody of Court No.1 said there was need to focus on preventing the occurrence of SGBV in the country, adding that in the case of sexual penetration, it is difficult to have evidential value.