INTERVIEW WITH THE PROGRAMME MANAGER NETWORK AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE

By Sarjo Camara Singateh

In this edition of Women and Development, we have the Programme Manager of Network Against Mr. Falou SoweGender Based Violence (NAGBV), Mr. Falou Sowe. The interview was held in the Network’s office at Action Aid International –The Gambia to highlight some of the developments and efforts that they are doing to curb gender based violence by recording facts and figures so that evidence will not get lost. Some of the information was an extracted from the Network’s Annual Report 2014 and a rundown of partner organizations efforts to make this data possible.

  WD: can you share with our readers Violence against Women is only physical violence?

Mr. Sowe: Violence against women is more than physical violence; you have economic violence, sexual violence, physiological or emotional violence.

WD: Do we have more violence against women or men?

Mr. Sowe: The records we have shown that more women and girls are violated than men. These are the people who did not have the power, they are vulnerable. The cases that are reported are more of women and girls.

WD: Mr. Sowe, the Network is a household name in the country because you have been engaging in a series of trainings with partners. Sometimes ago you were creating awareness around One Stop Centre. Who are the care team members supporting this initiative?

Mr. Sowe: The Network continues to work with the care team derived from Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) where the one stop centre is located, Department of Social Welfare, Shelter for Children, Police Gender and Child Welfare Unit, Serrekunda General Hospital, Ministry of Justice and female Lawyers Association Gambia (FLAG) for effective functioning of the One Stop centre as a holistic multi-sectoral approach to the management of GBV cases

WD: I understand that in 2013 the network, in collaboration with its partners, has some statistics on Gender base violence?

Mr. Sowe: It is indicated that 23 (95.8%) out of 24 cases of Sexual violence seen at the One-stop centre were against women and girls and only 1 (4.2%) of the cases is against a man/boy, and 70.8% of the victims/survivors are children and only 29.2% of the victims/survivors are adults

WD: Do you have any gender disaggregated data on some of these cases?

Mr. Sowe: It is indicates that 23 (95.8%) out of 24 cases of Sexual violence seen at the One-stop centre were against women and girls and only 1 (4.2%) of the cases is against a man/boy, and 70.8% of the victims/survivors are children and only 29.2% of the victims/survivors are adults

WD: What is the primary duty of these care team members?

Mr. Sowe: The care team members are also responsible for collection of GBV data from their institution during the first quarter of 2015. “The Network compiled the data they collected during the quarter which is presented in a table form”.

GBV CASES RECORDED BY SERVICE PROVIDERS FROM JANUARY TO MARCH 2015

INSTITUTIONSTOTAL NUMBER OF CASES RECORDEDTYPES OF CASES
Department of Social Welfare102 economic violence cases
3 sexual violence cases
3 physical violence cases
2 psychological/emotional violence cases
Shelter for Children62 sexual violence cases
2 psychological/emotional violence
2 physical violence cases
Police Gender & Child Welfare Unit109 sexual violence cases
1 physical violence case
Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (One-stop Centre)2424 sexual violence cases
Serrekunda General Hospital97 sexual violence cases
1 physical violence case
1 psychological/emotional violence case
Female Lawyers Association Gambia61 economic violence case
2 emotional violence cases
3 physical violence cases
Ministry of Justice – Criminal Division66 sexual violence cases being prosecuted

Mr. Sowe: According to the Department of Social Welfare records, a total of 10 cases of GBV were reported to the Department from Jan-march 2015 and out of the 10 cases: 3 are sexual violence cases (2 rape and 1 sexual abuse case), 3 are physical violence cases (2 Domestic Violence cases and 1 child neglect case resulting to severe physical complications and disability of the child),1 forced marriage case,2 are economic violence cases (refusal of parents to provide child maintenance) and 1 psychological/emotional violence case (denial of access to child)

The shelter for children recorded 6 new GBV cases during the first quarter of 2015 comprising: 2 Abandon baby cases, 1 wife beating (Intimate partner violence),1 physical abuse (a boy was physically abused by his grandfather)2 mothers – 1 accuse of abandoning her baby because the boyfriend denied paternity and the other had a baby while her husband was away and therefore, she and her baby were at risk of violence.

The Police Gender/Child Welfare Unit recorded during the first quarter of 2015 10 GBV cases including: 9 Sexual violence cases (5 rape, 3 defilement and 1 indecent assault), 1 physical/emotional violence (child neglect leading to serious physical complications and disability of the child)

At the One-stop Centre in Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital 24 GBV cases were recorded (i.e. 24 sexual violence cases) which involve 17 child victims/survivors and 7 adult victims/survivors of whom 23 were females and 1 male).

Serrekunda General Hospital recorded 9 GBV cases during the same period out of which:7 are sexual violence cases (7 rape cases),1 is physical violence (wife beating) and 1 is psychological/emotional violence

The Female Lawyers Association – Gambia (FLAG) also recorded 6 GBV cases within the first three months of 2015 which include: 3 Physical violence cases,(Domestic violence cases),1 economic and emotional violence case and 2 emotional violence cases

However, it is important to note that FLAG is still working on 29 pending cases which were initially reported to them in the last three years.

Finally, the Ministry of Justice received 6 GBV cases for prosecution from 1st January to 31st March 2015 which comprise of 5 rape cases and 1 defilement case).

GBV DATA FROM THE EFSTH (ONE STOP CENTRE), SERREKUNDA GENERAL HOSPITAL AND POLICE GENDER & CHILD WELFARE UNIT DISAGREGATED BY AGE AND SEX

INSTITUTIONNUMBER OF CASESSEX% Male Survivors% Female SurvivorsAGE OF VICTIMS% Child Survivors% Adult Survivors

 

MF0 – 10 years11-17 years18 + years
Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (One Stop Centre)241234.295.8107

 

770.829.2
Police Gender & Child Welfare Unit10010010028

 

01000
Serrekunda General Hospital9091010043

 

277.822.2

WD: Did you have any gender disaggregated data on these findings?

Mr. Sowe: Yes, we do. Looking at this table above shows the disaggregated GBV data by sex (male and female) and age (children and adults) from the three institutions mentioned above during the first quarter of 2015. It indicate that 23 (95.8%) out of 24 cases of Sexual violence seen at the One-stop centre were against women and girls and only 1 (4.2%) of the cases is against a man/boy, and 70.8% of the victims/survivors are children and only 29.2% of the victims/survivors are adults. Also out of the 10 cases received by the Gender/Child Welfare Unit of the police   100% are against girl children. Again at the Serrekunda General Hospital all the 9 GBV cases received were against women and girls and 77.8% of the victims are children and 22.2% are adults. This clearly shows that most of the victims of GBV, especially sexual violence cases, received by these institutions during the quarter are girl children.

TYPE OF GBV AND THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES RECORDED IN 2014

GBV TYPENUMBER OF CASES RECORDED IN 2014
SEXUAL VIOLENCE41
ECONOMIC VIOLENCE3
PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE7
PHYSICAL VIOLENCE9
TOTAL GBV CASES RECORDED60

Table 3 and the pie chart that followed it shows the total number and category of GBV cases recorded by the institutions named in table 1 during the first quarter of 2015. In calculating the totals four sexual violence cases reported at Police Gender and Child Welfare Unit and one physical violence case were not included because the same cases were also recorded by one of the other institutions to avoid double counting. Also the six cases being prosecuted by the Criminal Division of the Ministry of Justice were not counted for the same reason.

WD: I learnt that most of the cases are in the Urban area are the rural people not inclusive in the service.

Mr. Sowe: is important to note that most of the cases reported at these institutions are from Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and some parts of west Coast Region; therefore, the data is not nationally representative. Also the data is not without limitation, the GBV cases reported in other health facilities, police stations as well as the Regional Social Welfare Office in Brikama were not captured.

Secondly, the data collected from EFSTH excluded physical and emotional violence cases that might have been seen at the hospital during the quarter.

EXTRACTED FROM THE NETWORK AGAINST GENDER BASED VIOLENCE ANNUAL REPORT 2014

The Network continues to work with the care team derived from Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) where the one stop centre is located, Department of Social Welfare, Shelter for Children, Police Gender and Child Welfare Unit, Serrekunda General Hospital, Ministry of Justice and female Lawyers Association Gambia (FLAG) for effective functioning of the One Stop centre as a holistic multi-sectoral approach to the management of GBV cases.

The care team members are responsible for collection of GBV data from their institution. The Network compiled the data they collected during 2014 as follow:

In 2014 197 cases of GBV reported to DSW, 122 were economic violence cases mainly maintenance related (i.e. men who divorced their wives and abandon their children with them without providing financial support for the survival of the children or men who have children with women out of marriage and refused to provide financial support for the survival of such children). There were 45 sexual violence related cases (i.e. 30 paternity dispute cases, 1 FGM/C case, 2 abduction case, 3 rape cases, 3 child sexual abuse cases, 6 abandoned baby cases resulting from sexual abuse/exploitation of women). Also there were 21 physical violence cases (i.e. 10 domestic violence cases, 7 child physical abuse cases and 4 neglect cases). In addition, there were 9 psychological/emotional violence cases (i.e. 5 family dispute cases, 2 early/forces marriage cases and 2 homeless women who were humiliated and send out of their homes by their partners).

The Shelter for Children recorded 51 GBV cases which comprises of 29 emotional violence related cases (i.e. 11 babies abandoned by their parents; 4 forced marriages; 9 family disputes; 2 homeless women; 2 emotionally abused children and 1 emotionally abused and neglect woman by husband), 12 sexual violence related cases (i.e. 5 child sexual abuse cases; 1 paternity dispute resulting from sexual abuse, 1 abduction and sexual abuse case; 4 child offenders (teenage mothers who abandoned their babies) and 1 teenage victim of drug and sexual abuse), 10 physical violence related cases ( i.e. 10 physical abuse cases involving children).

The Police Gender/Child Welfare Unit recorded 44 cases of GBV in 2014 which included 40 sexual violence cases (i.e. 33 rape, 2 attempted rape, 3 defilement and 2 abduction cases) and 4 physical violence related cases (i.e. 3 assault, 1 child physical abuse case). Amongst the 44 reported cases to the Police Gender/Child Welfare Unit 40 were referred to prosecution (i.e. 38 sexual violence cases and 2 physical violence cases), 2 sexual violence cases were withdrawn and 2 physical violence cases are still being investigated.

In 2014 the Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Division prosecuted 32 cases of GBV including 30 sexual violence related cases (i.e. 28 rape cases and 2 attempted rape cases), 1 human trafficking case and 1 assault case. Unfortunately, the Network has a challenge in getting information regarding the outcome of the cases prosecuted both at police and Ministry of Justice levels because it is not included in their records at the moment but we have started the advocacy for its inclusion in the future.

At the One Stop Centre at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital 41 cases of GBV were recorded during the year and all were sexual violence related cases (i.e. Rape and defilement).

At Serrekunda General Hospital 61 cases of GBV were recorded in the year. They included 45 sexual violence related cases (rape cases) and 16 physical violence cases (Domestic violence and Assault).

The Female Lawyers Association Gambia recorded 32 cases of GBV among them were 16 economic violence related cases (i.e. 4 land dispute cases, 6 family maintenance cases, 3 denial of inheritance cases and 3 unlawful termination of job), 12 emotional violence related cases (9 divorce cases, 1 marital dispute and 2 custody disputes), 3 physical violence related cases (2 assault cases and 1 Domestic violence case) and 1 sexual violence related case (rape).

 

GBV DATA FROM THE EFSTH (ONE STOP CENTRE), SERREKUNDA GENERAL HOSPITAL AND POLICE GENDER & CHILD WELFARE UNIT DISAGREGATED BY AGE AND SEX

INSTITUTIONNUMBER OF CASESSEX% Male Survivors% Female SurvivorsAGE OF VICTIMS% Child Survivors% Adult Survivors

 

MF0 – 10 years11-17 years18 + years
Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (One Stop Centre)4104101001714

 

1077.522.5
Police Gender & Child Welfare Unit442424.695.41920

 

588.611.4
Serrekunda General Hospital611601.798.3934

 

1771.628.4

 

The above shows the annual GBV disaggregated data by sex (male and female) and age (children and adults) from the three institutions mentioned above in Banjul and Kanifing Municipality. It indicate that 100% of the GBV cases (sexual violence cases) recorded at the EFSTH are against women and girls and 77.5% of them are children, 95.45% of the cases reported at the Police Gender/Child Welfare Unit are against women and girls and 88.6% of them are children while more than 98% of the cases recorded at Serrekunda General Hospital are against women and girls and 71.6% of them are children.

TYPE OF GBV AND THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES RECORDED IN 2014

GBV TYPENUMBER OF CASES RECORDED IN 2014
SEXUAL VIOLENCE140
ECONOMIC VIOLENCE138
PSYCHOLOGICAL/EMOTIONAL VIOLENCE50
PHYSICAL VIOLENCE54
TOTAL GBV CASES RECORDED382

 

These shows the total number of GBV cases reported to the six institutions named in table 1 (i.e. the total number of sexual violence cases, economic violence cases, psychological/emotional violence cases and physical violence cases) recorded by the institutions. It also indicates the grand total of GBV cases reported to those institutions during the year from the three different regions (i.e. Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and part of West Coast Region).

In calculating the totals the sexual violence cases reported at Police Gender and Child Welfare Unit and Ministry of Justice’s Criminal Division were not included to avoid double counting because those cases were also recorded either at EFSTH or Serrekunda General Hospital. Also the 3 rape cases recorded at the Department of Social Welfare and the 1 rape case recorded at FLAG were not counted for the same reason. In addition, some of the cases which were seen both at the Department of Social Welfare and Shelter for Children were counted only once.

It is important to note that all the cases reported at these institutions are from Banjul, Kanifing Municipality and some parts of west Coast Region; therefore, the data is not nationally representative. It is also important to highlight that the data is not without limitation. Firstly, the GBV cases reported in other health facilities, police stations within the regions and the Regional Social Welfare Office in Brikama were not captured. Secondly, the data collected from EFSTH included only sexual violence cases and not physical and emotional violence cases recorded by the hospital. Thirdly, due to human error some data might have been missed. However, the Network and its partners recognized these challenges and will endevour to improve on the data collection in subsequent years.