Furera Jubril Baffa is a Counselor in the Jigawa State Sexual Assault Referral Center.
She specializes in counselings gender-based violence victims.
In a seat down with DPH News, Furera Baffa Reveals how Covid-19 pandemic affected the referral center and also how the new adopted VAPP Act will affect GBV in Jigawa State.
DPH News: What kind of sexual assault do you frequently receive in this referral center?
Furera: We receive more rape cases more than any other assault case, then it’s followed by domestic violence which is mostly center in martial violence between a husband and a wife.
DPH News: Is there a frequent age-range which you receive case in this referral center?
Furera: Yes there is, the ages ranges from 1-15 years.
DPH News: How has Covid-19 pandemic affected your activities in the referral center?
Furera: Covid-19 pandemic has really affected our center because at some point we had to close down the center and only open it when it’s very necessary, or when we had a rape case which we have to attend to them. Due to Covid-19 lockdown, we also had a spike in the rape case we had.
DPH News: What are the procedure being used in handling sexual assault cases in this referral center?
Furera: Counseling is the first thing we have with our clients, we talk to them about what happened to them then we move to the next stage which is the forensic examination. In this stage we examine the victim thoroughly and gather any evidence for further investigation and from that stage we move to the next which is the medical examination which the victims are being examined by the doctors.
But in rape cases if the client is bleeding medical examinations are the first procedure we carry out.
DPH News: What’s the advice you can give to states that are yet to domesticate the VAPP Act?
Furera: They should immediately domesticate the law because that’s the only way Perpetrators of Sexual assault can be dealt with.
Also the law will help in stopping violence against a person of any sort.
DPH News: Is sexual assault Increasing or is it Reducing, in Jigawa state ?
Furera: That we can’t really say, the VAPP Act was domesticated last month and it will take time for us to know whether cases are increasing or not.
And also we have to wait, so we can compare our previous records before domestication and the records after domestication to have an accurate answer.
DPH News: Since the establishment of this referral centre, has it been living up to its functional objectives or expectations?
Furera: We can say it’s functioning since it’s sexual Assault referral center but we need the center to be more than how we are now.
We need the state government to add more center’s in some other local governments.
Also, our center needs to be renovated and expanded because we mostly have more than one case at a time and we can’t attend to all victims at the same time because of inadequate space and also some of our clients needs assistance.
Because some of them don’t even have transportation fare to bring them to our center, which literally means a means of transportation for example an ambulance assigned to the referral center will also be helpful.