A 2-day county level workshop was held in Sanniquellie November 21-22, 2019, to operationalize and enhance coordination of Women and Children Protection Sections (WACPS) and Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) Crimes' Units.
The objective is to effectively investigate and provide psychosocial counselling to victims/survivors of SGBV and Harmful Practices (HP).
64 participants (40 males and 24 females) from Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties, comprised of criminal justice actors, gender officers, health workers and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) participated in the exercise, to improve their skills on the management of SGBV cases, coordination, networking and information sharing.
The aim is to support the prosecution and documentation of SGBV and HP cases in Liberia, as well as to prevent and respond to SGBV crimes and violations of Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights.
The two-day training was conducted under the EU Funded Spotlight Initiative being implemented through the United Nations, but a key deliverable of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Participants were drilled on topics related to Evidence Gathering & Prevention; Crime Scene & Statement Taking; Testifying in Court; SGBV Referral Pathway; Management of SGBV Cases and psycho-social counseling to victim/survivors as well as Sexual Offenses and Law; Court Room Practices & Techniques and Case File Development among others.
They expressed enthusiasm about the Spotlight Initiatives Programme in the wake of increasing violence against women and girls and appreciated the need for increased coordination and networking among stakeholders.
Both Grand Gedeh and Nimba Counties have an established and active Gender Taskforce, but participants stressed that it was imperative for the Taskforce to be receptive to gender and health actors by providing and sharing relevant information that concerns women, girls and other minority groups.
Beneficiaries of the training are also calling for the establishment of one stop center in Sacleapea and Ganta Cities where huge cases of SGBV are witnessed and victims/survivors are often left without support and protection.
These Chain Actors are also recommending the renovation of WACPS offices to include safe spaces in Ganta and Zwedru, in Nimba and Grand Gedeh Counties respectively, since safe space for survivors continues to be an issue. Many survivors are being kept at the homes of Police officers with no support for their upkeep.