Jun 17, 2008, 5:43 AM
Held at the NaNA conference hall along Bertil Harding highway, the training was meant to create awareness among law enforcers in dealing with cases of gender-based violence.
Speaking on behalf of the IGP, Commissioner Ebrima Bah said gender-based violence or violence against women (VAW) is a major public health and human right problem throughout the world.
Violence against women, he said, has so many profound implications for health but is often ignored.
He said according to the WHO’s world report on violence and health, one of the most common forms of violence against women (VAW) is that performed by a husband or male partner, saying this type of violence is frequently invisible since it happens behind closed doors, and the legal systems and cultural norms often do not treat it as a crime but rather as a private family matter or normal and part of life.
He said a growing body of research has confirmed that gender-based violence has significant consequences, especially on girls’ and women’s physical, sexual and mental health, as well as implications on the health and well being of families and communities.
Violence against women drains a country’s existing resources and handicaps women’s ability to contribute to social and economic progress, he says.
According to various informants, more than likely patients do not report that their injuries resulted from violence they experience from their husbands or partners and in most cases women are ashamed and do not admit they are being abused.
Mr Bah stated that the requirement by health centres or hospitals that all gender-based violence cases must be reported first to the police is likely to make victims to cover up the cause of their injuries or even prevent them from seeking relevant care and attention.
He said the rationale behind sensitizing and building the capacity of law enforcers in the GBV domain lies in the fact that girls and women continue to fall victims of rape, sexual assault, trafficking and kidnapping but in most cases perpetrators disappear from the scene and escape justice or are not prosecuted at all.
He further stated that the Government of The Gambia ratified the AU solemn declaration on gender equality in Africa in expression of its commitment to the empowerment, welfare and development of women and girls in the country.
The Gambia Police Force is in full support of the work of the network against gender-based violence, he said, adding that this applies to all other security institutions in the country.
He said they are also a signatory to the one-stop centre, which is a home to the victims and survivors of gender-based violence.
For her part, madam Tabu Sarr, vice chairperson of Network Against Gender-Based Violence, said the network is formed by different actors and activists against gender-based violence.
The training will enable the participants to exchange ideas as well as to share experiences on tackling gender-based violence.
Gender-based violence is becoming more complex, she noted, saying it is vital experiences are shared in addressing it.
Addressing GBV through dialogue and consultation however requires holistic contribution from everyone, she emphasised.