The ongoing national campaign against Gender Based Violence and Child abuse was yesterday taken to Kayonza District where residents were urged to utilize the services of Isange One Stop Centre in responding and addressing the vices.
The campaign held at Rwankwavu hospital focuses mainly on sensitizing the public on services offered by Isange centres and calling for active involvement of other partners including faith-based organizations and other civil society organizations in fighting GBV and child abuse.
The activity is also a follow up of the 2014 exercise to scale up Isange to all hospitals across the country, was held yesterday at Rwinkwavu hospital in Kayonza District and presided over by the Governor of the Eastern Province, Judith Kazayire.
Rwinkwavu is one of the 28 hospitals in different parts of the country that host Isange One Stop Centres, which offers free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse.
The target is to have Isange established in all 44 district hospitals across the country before going a step further to extend them to health centres.
The campaign is being held under the theme: “With collective efforts, we can fight and prevent Gender Based Violence and Child Abuse.”
Governor Kazayire called upon residents of the Eastern Province to exercise their rights and make use of Isange to ensure that “justice is served” but also acquire all health services.
“The services provided at Isange are not charged… they are meant for your social wellbeing. So, don’t let those who violate your rights go unpunished because it is one way of addressing the problem,” Governor Kazayire said.
She disclosed that soon, Isange will also be operational at Gahini and Kiziguro hospitals in a bid to further decentralize the free services closer to the people.
She commended the existing partnership between RNP and other partners such as the ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, and Health for the efforts invested in jointly addressing the challenges women and children face in communities, that at times go unreported.
“The fast you report the easier for the police to get enough evidence which supplements the judicial process against the culprit. The more you delay the higher are chances of killing evidence and the criminal walking free,” she said.
At least 230 cases of GBV and child abuse have been recorded in Kayonza in the last seven months with about 57 percent of them against women. 14 percent accounted for children who have faced varied abuses with 5.63 percent aged between five and seven while those above 18 years account for 35 percent.
The Governor mentioned sexual harassment, rape, battery, separation and defilement as some of the GBV related crimes that have characterized the area and pledged government support to combat them.
Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Celestin Twahirwa, the commissioner for Community Policing in RNP, noted that the existing police partnership with the public in all policing activities continues to play a big part identifying and addressing such human rights violations, among others.
“Police and other partners have put in place measures to limit, fight and prevent GBV and child abuse, and Isange is one of those strategies. The success partly depend on how each Rwandan reacts to immediately report such injustices and in real time,” said ACP Twahirwa
Other measures, he said, are hotlines – 3029 for Isange, 3512 for GBV, 116 for child helpline, and 112 for emergency; establishment of the directorate of Anti-GBV and child abuse and gender focal points in all districts across the country.
ACP Twahirwa further said that RNP also established the department of Interpol that handles cross border crimes especially against human trafficking issues; Regional Center of Excellence against GBV and child abuse; signed agreements with other regional and international police institutions and organizations, all aimed at collectively combating the vices and ensuring that criminals who run away are located and arrested to face justice.