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Special courts for domestic violence to be established

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DPS Kajali Sonko, who’s also the overseer of the Directorate of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment, formerly Women’s Bureau, said: “Our ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Justice with a view to come up with a special court. We can’t be having cases and compiling them. We want to open special courts for children and special courts on domestic violence so that cases of GBV among others will be expedited.”

Mr. Sonko was speaking on Wednesday in the Central River Region (CRR) during the opening of a two-day training for cluster monitors, teachers as well as school administrators. The convergence was funded by UNICEF. The ministry, he went on, has zero tolerance to all forms of negative and harmful cultural and traditional practise that affects our women and children.

“During the pandemic, we realise that cases that are reported with regard to GBV have seriously increased to over 2800 cases. Out of this number, 78 of the cases involved children.”

Some of the cases, he said, are even in court. “We are also working to have a Victim’s Support Centre. Currently, we only have a centre which is in Bakoteh and we are extending to URR and probably, we could extend to CRR.”

“Most of the women, when they are beating  at home; they either go to the police station or their homes. In some instances, their family members would ask them to go back to their husbands’ houses even when they have been beaten.”

The victim’s support centre, he explained, is aimed at providing counselling to both the husband and the wife when problems occur between them, adding: “The woman will also be given entrepreneurship skills during her period of stay at the centre. This will enable the woman to start up an entrepreneurship business if she goes home.”

“We recognise the fact that there’s lot of things happening in our schools. We also recognise the fact that there are lots of things happening in our communities and households. Therefore, the issue of people staying together during the pandemic has increased the number of domestic violence. This trauma in fact, goes up to the children.”  

Abdoulie M. Jallow, who spoke on behalf of Region 5 education director, said: “Today’s gathering can’t be over emphasised. In fact, the Ministry of Gender didn’t make any mistake in choosing this group. The participants are people who are interacting with the students on a daily basis. Therefore, it’s important for us to be abreast with issues of GBV among others. The children are the leaders of tomorrow, thus we need to prepare them today for tomorrow.”

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