Kigali City dwellers have been encouraged to speak out on gender based violence and child abuse in their neighborhoods.
The message was delivered during awareness about the role of Isange One Stop Centre in fighting and preventing gender based violence, child abuse as well as promotion and protection of rights of the two vulnerable groups.
On Tuesday, the awareness campaign led by Mayor of City of Kigali Pascal Nyamulinda was taken to residents of Gisozi Sector in Gasabo District.
The event coincided with Umugoroba w’ababyeyi – evening parents forum held in Musezero Cell.
Mayor Nyamulinda said breaking silence on violence women, girls and children face will inform effective response, including supporting victims and ensuring justice.
“Sustaining what has been achieved includes ensuring that laws and people’s rights are respected, which is both an individual and collective responsibility,” the mayor said.
“You are part and major players in building the country, but achieving that sustainable development requires solid, focused and peaceful families that share similar understanding, respect each other and ensure upbringing of the children,” he added.
He further observed that communities can’t develop when children are ruined by illicit drugs, families defined by disputes and abuses directed to women and children.
“If your neighbors are facing conflicts don’t keep quiet. That young boy or girl that has been abused has rights too, and it’s your duty as well to ensure that child is protected and in school,” the mayor said, urging parents to send their children to school.
Supt. Jeanne d’Arc Mukandahiro from Isange One Stop Centre explained to the residents the services offered by Isange.
“Isange was established to support, rehabilitate and give justice to victims of gender violence and child abuse, with all services given free of charge. Basically, we are here to tell you that don’t be a victim or see people’s rights being abused and keep quiet,” Supt. Mukandahiro said.
Isange is open 24 hours to support the victims with medical care, counseling, rehabilitate those that have faced psychological torture but also help you get justice through scientific evidence, she further explained.
She urged residents to always call the police whenever they face or witness such abuses, on toll-free lines 3029, 3512, 116 and 112.
Similar awareness campaign was also extended to residents of Kinyinya Sector also in Gasabo. The exercise also included receiving complaints from victims or witness of gender and child abuse crimes as residents lined up on Isange Mobile Clinic.
Isange, which started in 2009, currently operates in 44 hospitals across the country. The centres 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.
As of end of last year, Isange had received about 17,000 cases, the majority (71 per cent) related to sexual abuse.
Domestic violence accounted for 29 per cent. About 81 per cent of the victims of sexual assault were also aged below 18, while those below five years account for 17 per cent.
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, gynecology 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.