Helping Survivors of Gender-Based Violence to Access their Rights

AMNet conducted trainings on the Sexual Offences Act and the National Referral Protocol on GBV in Kambia, Bonthe, Kenema, Bo and Freetown. In these trainings representatives of those organizations responsible for key support to victims of GBV – like the police/family support unit, the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs, the government hospitals, educational institutions and CSOs offering various support, were trained in the content of the new law and policy. As described in the policy, coordination mechanisms were set up to facilitate an optimum support for survivors of GBV and district-based directories of organizations offering support to survivors were created.

Before the trainings the organizations were largely not familiar with the legal provisions and with their own roles and responsibilities in GBV cases. For example the Government Hospital in Kambia charged survivors of rape with fees of Le 35,000 for medical care although this service is supposed to be free according to the Sexual Offences Act. Additionally Numerous coordination problems existed and complicated the situation for survivors.

Now the directories are used not only for the coordination in responding to GBV cases, but also for various other networking and coordination purposes. The continuous fallow-up by participants of the trainings and AMNet staff ensured, that survivors of Sexual Gender-Based Violence can now enjoy their right to free examination and treatment in the government hospital of Kambia.