Lagos launches programme to address underlying causes of domestic violence

THE Lagos State government has initiated support and healing group sessions targeting individuals involved in domestic and sexual violence in the state.

The programme, according to a statement by the Executive Secretary of the Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, aligns with Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s commitment to addressing sexual and gender-based violence in the state comprehensively.

Vivour-Adeniyi emphasised that the need to address the “worrisome” increase in cases of domestic violence in the state necessitated the programme.

She stated that the support and healing group sessions aim to tackle the underlying causes of domestic violence by identifying and addressing factors such as unresolved trauma, anger management issues, substance abuse, and learned patterns of violence.

She added that research had shown that domestic violence cases stem from the deep-seated factors listed above.

“Without psychological intervention, there is a risk that the perpetrators may perpetuate the cycle of violence in their own relationships, or pass it on to future generations.

“Hence, through strategic intervention, perpetrators can gain insight into these factors and develop healthier coping strategies,  and also break the cycle of violence that the support and healing group sessions can avail them,” she said.

Vivour-Adeniyi said the structured intervention sessions would enable perpetrators to gain insights into alternative coping mechanisms, conflict resolution skills, and healthy relationship dynamics.

Lagos State has a zero-tolerance policy on gender-based violence. The state has a number of laws and initiatives in place to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV), including:

Despite these efforts, GBV remains a serious problem in the state. In 2021, the DSVRT received over 10,000 reports of GBV, and it is estimated that only a fraction of cases are actually reported.



    The breakdown of the cases showed that there were 4,150 domestic violence cases, 177 rape cases, 255 attempts to commit rape/sexual assault, 246 sexual assault by penetration/threat cases, and 877 others (separation, not taking responsibility for the child(ren), neglect, custody of the child, non-GBV, etc.).

    Others include 436 child abuse/physical assault cases, 271 defilement cases, 13 defilement by minor to minor, 454 child labour, abduction neglect/others, and 148 sexual harassment/molestation cases.

    Analysis of the statistics revealed that 91 per cent of women were abused as against 9 per cent for men, and 92 per cent of adults in the age range of 18-45 years had the highest cases reported, while 57 per cent of children within the age range of 2-9 years experienced or witnessed the highest form of assault.

    The data also revealed that 73 per cent of domestic violence was reported for adults, which was the highest form of GBV against adults, while 69 per cent of emotional abuse was reported for children who witnessed intimate partner violence and other assaults.

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