In an effort to tackle the menace of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and the prevention of child domestic/sexual abuse, the Lagos State Government, in conjunction with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), on Tuesday organised a capacity building programme for key stakeholders in school management.

Addressing the participants drawn from both public and private schools, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Dr. Olugbemiga Aina, noted that the capacity building was designed to share knowledge and present stakeholders with the opportunity to interact with representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agency (MDAs) directly involved in providing intervention on sexual/domestic abuse of young people.

Represented at the event by Mr. Saka Abdulateef, a Director in the Ministry, the Permanent Secretary stated that the school system plays an essential role in protecting youths from abuse because they have regular contact with children.

“The role of the school system cannot be overemphasised as they have regular contact with children and young people, so they are in a strong position to identify signs of abuse and neglect. So the school system is key in the reduction of the menace of sexual abuse and domestic violence among our adolescents in schools”, he noted.

Explaining the role of the State government in tackling GBV and child domestic/sexual abuse, Dr. Aina said that the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu has been at the forefront of tackling the menace with the recent signing of the legislation transforming the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) into a full-blown agency.

The DSVRT legislation, according to him, provides for the establishment of a Sexual Offenders Register that would help the State to effectively tackle violations in communities, thereby nipping child domestic/sexual abuse in the bud.

The Permanent Secretary also stated that the Ministry, in collaboration with UNFPA, had designed a Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) for inclusion in the curriculum of non-formal vocations and technical centres in the State, thereby providing a framework for the acquisition of knowledge on self and family living.

Also speaking at the event, Dr. Esther Somefun, the Coordinator of UNFPA Southwest Zone, stated that the organisation has zero-tolerance for all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse, hence, the collaboration with the Ministry in organising training for stakeholders in the school management to create a safe haven for students by protecting their rights.

She noted that Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) creates a dangerous learning environment for children as studies have shown that it is not only the girl-child that is affected but boys are also at risk.

The workshop featured presentations from various speakers and a roundtable discussion with participants expressing appreciation to the State Government for organising such a programme.

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