Residents of Bugesera District have been urged to be active partners through real time information sharing, especially on gender and child abuse related crimes.
The Commissioner for Public Relations and Media in Rwanda National Police (RNP) Assistant Commissioner of Police Celestin Twahirwa, who doubles as Police spokesperson, made the call yesterday while addressing over 3000 residents of Bugesera yesterday at an ongoing anti- Gender Based Violence (GBV) and child abuse campaign.
ACP Twahirwa noted that there are some people who take advantage of other’s vulnerability and abuse them, adding that to combat such ills requires ownership on the part of every individual and reporting every single case they come across.
The event was also attended by the Mayor of Bugesera, Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire and the director of Isange One Stop Centres, Supt. Shafiga Murebwayire.
The campaign targets areas marked as hotspots to highlight and address challenges associated with GBV and child abuse, and to further narrow the Police-public gap in timely sharing of information on any form of abuse.
“GBV is real and it’s a responsibility for each of us to use all possible means to eliminate it. This is not a one man’s fight…it concerns everyone,” Twahirwa said.
“If you managed to rebuild the country from the ruins of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, then we can’t fail on this front of eliminating GBV and child abuse,”
He noted that sharing such information is a contribution to national development since it helps in ensuring that societies are safe from any form of violence. Remember, a community that is safe focuses more on developing itself than spending much time in conflicts, he noted.
The public awareness followed an earlier meeting with over 200 local and opinion leaders, which also focused on strong collaboration to raise the awareness and fight against the vice.
“Silence is betrayal; the only way we are going to eliminate this form of abuse is through breaking the silence,” ACP Twahirwa told local leaders.
The campaign also seeks to enlighten the general population on the services offered by Isange One Stop Centre, which currently operates in 28 district hospitals across the country.
The centre was established in 2009 with the support of the First Lady Jeannette Kagame through Imbuto Foundation, to offer free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to the victims of GBV and child abuse.
It also conducts post treatment follow up.
The Mayor of Bugesera, Emmanuel Nsanzumuhire, thanked Police for its continued efforts in fighting GBV.
During the meeting, residents who had concerns related to domestic and gender based violence filed them with the Isange One Stop Centre mobile clinic – a fully-fledged vehicle that offers all Isange clinical services.
Police records indicate that at least 79 cases related to GBV and child abuse have been registered between January and August this year in Bugesera.
They include defilement, rape, battery, corporal punishment and two cases of murder.