By Moji Eniola
Lagos – The Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) is set to use technology to aid victims of domestic and sexual violence.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that President Muhammadu Buhari, while addressing the nation on March 29, ordered a two-week lockdown of Lagos, Ogun and Abuja to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The Coordinator of the DSVRT, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday that there had been a rise in the number of distress calls to DSVRT hotlines.
“We have to take advantage of technology as much as possible. We have gone online now, we are attending to clients via our email, social media and our hotline.
“We are doing a lot of conference calls, speaking to both the alleged abuser and victim, we are doing referrals to the closest family support units at police stations, because some of them are still operational.
“We are doing a lot of counselling, we have our clinical psychologists speaking to victims, but what we are really advocating for safety.
“If any one feels that she is at risk of domestic violence, she should at least go to a trusted family member to stay,” she said.
The DSVRT coordinator said that the organisation had in the past week housed survivors of domestic and sexual abuse.
“With this imminent lockdown, we do not know how movement will be.
“If we cannot move people into shelters this period, we are advocating that people should take advantage of their support system such as a trusted family member.
“I will like to encourage family members to check on the welfare of relatives whose spouses are abusive.
“Please, do not send a text or WhatsApp message; rather, give them a telephone or video call,” she said.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that such care would restrain abusers since they would be aware that there is a support system on the lookout for any form of crime by them against survivors.
She said the DSVRT could be contacted via www.dsvrtlagos.org or via hotlines on 08137960048, 09062887843 or 09062887869 while the DSVRT psychologists could be reached on 09062887865 and 09062887844.
In a similar development, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, Operations Manager, Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network, has said the movement restriction had adversely affected the NGO’s responses to cases of abuse.
He said there had been a rise in complaints received by his organisation as perpetrators of abuse were taking advantage of it to commit gender-based violence.
Omejalile told NAN that in spite of the restriction, the NGO had found various ways to provide support for victims of sexual and domestic abuse in Lagos.
“What we now do is that we call the social worker who lives closest to the area of the distress call to attend to the survivor.
“We also counsel the survivor(s) over the telephone or we do a conference call or a video call; that is how we have been able to reach out to them this period,” Omejalile said.