The training seeks to create effective mechanisms and best practices of prosecutors with regards to prosecution of sexual violence cases and also to help ensure that provisions of the sexual offences Act 2013, especially relating to the rights of victims; granting bail to accused persons and other judicial processes being of paramount concern to all officers in the justice delivery system.
The training is part of a project which seeks to strengthen the capacity of prosecutors within the justice delivery system in order to ease access to justice and provision of support for victims of sexual violence.
It would also be crucial in equipping prosecutors and other law enforcement officers with the requisite skills and knowledge needed to conduct pre-trial interviews with victims of sexual violence and in leading them to giving evidence during trial.
The project is funded by the British High Commission under the title “Promoting justice for victims and survivors of sexual violence in The Gambia.”
The training of prosecutors and police officers is the first activity under this project which targets to ultimately change the manner in which sexual offences are prosecuted in the Gambia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the British High Commissioner, David Belgrove OBE, said improving confidence in the criminal justice system would help bring all perpetrators to justice.
“No woman should live in fear of violence. Tackling violence against women and girls is everybody’s business and we all need to play our part by allowing women to disclose violence as part of their everyday interaction. We can support earlier identification and intervention to stop violence from escalating.”
Representing the IGP, commissioner Abdoulie Sanneh, head of prosecution and legal affairs, said the fight against Sexual violence is a priority for The Gambia Police Force.
“These four days training is another milestone in building the capacity of relevant stakeholders to achieve the set targets in protecting women and children who are prone to sexual exploitation that is on the increase globally.”
He urged participants to take the training seriously as cases of sexual offences are cross cutting in societies.