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.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports 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 burnished 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, rape is on the increase inspite of the level of work NGOs and CSOs are doing.
“We need more synergy between stakeholders to ensure that we mitigate this menace,” he said.
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 efforts to ensure that rape cases are reported do 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.
She decried situations were the police tell victims of GBV to pay money to be used for logistics as well as to carryout investigation of rape cases.
“We need more sensitisation in the rural areas about GBV.
“Defilement of children is a big issue and these children cannot help themselves unless we help them”, she said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that in December 2021, wife of the governor, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, said family members and and friends of victims of gender-based violence who solicit on behalf of the perpetrators for cases to be settled out-of-ourt will henceforth be joined in the respective cases and charged with obstructing justice and compounding felony.
Obaseki, who is also the Chairperson of the Edo Gender-Based Violence Management Committee, gave the warning during a sensitization and advocacy tour of Edo North, Edo Central and Edo South Senatorial districts to mark the 16 days of activism against gender based violence in the State.
She noted that most cases of gender-based violence are perpetrated by close relatives, friends and spouses.
Obaseki had led members of the Committee to sensitise traditional rulers, Muslim and Christian leaders, non governmental organizations, and other stakeholders, on the menace of gender-based violence.
She noted that the culture of soliciting on behalf of these perpetrators encourages silence on the part of the victims, which she said has become a major obstacle in the fight against gender-based violence.
She directed the attention of the stakeholders to the existence of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition law, which punishes all types of gender-based violence, including obsolete traditional practices that degrade humans, particularly women, female circumcision, rape, child marriage, disinheriting women and spousal battery.