Members of the senatorial Standing Committee on Political Affairs and Good Governance, yesterday, visited Isange One-Stop Centre at Kacyiru Hospital to assess its impact in responding to incidences of gender-based violence and child abuse.
The senators, lead by committee chair Jean Nepomuscene Sindikubwabo and his deputy Gertrude Kazarwa, was received and briefed by Daniel Nyamwasa, the director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory.
Nyamwasa said the centres, which offer free medical, psycho-social and legal services to victims, are a voice, especially to the disadvantaged, who would otherwise find it hard to get justice and acquire medical services.
“These centres have been established in all the 44 district hospitals across the country, and offer similar services. They have doctors, judicial police officers, social workers, psychologists, who all work together to ensure that a victim acquires all the services required under one roof,” Nyamwasa said.
“When a victim comes, they are directed to the judicial officer, who assesses the condition and sends them to medical-legal personnel for scientific evidence and treatment. It’s the same medical report that facilitates the judicial process. The judicial officer also works with police stations to ensure that victims are located and helped,” he added.
Since July 2009, Isange One-Stop Centre has received over 16,900 cases, the majority (71 per cent) related to sexual abuse. Domestic violence account for 29 per cent.
According to statistics, about 81 per cent of the victims of sexual assault are aged below 18, while those below five years account for 17 per cent.
Overall, male victims of domestic violence account for 19 per cent.
Between January and August, all the 44 Isange centres across the country received a total of 3,378 cases.
Isange model also has provisions for emergency contraception, HIV prophylaxis, sexual transmission infections prevention and other medications. It provides free referral and specialised services like medico-legal, gynaecology and obstetrics, mental health, legal and investigation, psychosocial, safe room and social integration services to victims of GBV and child abuse.
It also has provisions for preventing pregnancies that might arise out of rape and defilement.
Isange is under the supervision of the Ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, and Health, and Rwanda National Police.
Nyamwasa also briefed the senators on future expansion plans and the decentralisation of the centres down to all health centres across the country as a means to effectively and efficiently reach out to victims and further raise awareness on preventive measures.
Sindikubwabo hailed the impact of Isange and the role of RNP is raising awareness on preventing GBV and child abuse.
“When you analyse its responsibilities, you will find that the specific duty of the Police is to receive and support victims of GBV and child abuse. These efforts need to be supported by everyone,” he said.