A senatorial standing commission on political and good governance, on Wednesday, visited Isange One Stop Centre at Kacyiru hospital to assess its impact in responding to incidences of gender based violence and child abuse.
Headed by its chairman, Dr. Jean Nepomuscene Sindikubwabo alongside his deputy Gertrude Kazarwa, the commission was received and briefed by Commissioner of Police (CP) Daniel Nyamwasa, the Director of Kigali Forensic Laboratory.
In his briefing, CP Nyamwasa said that the centres, which offer free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to victims, are a voice especially to the disadvantaged, who would otherwise find it hard to get justice and acquire medical services.
“These centres have been established in all the 44 district hospitals across the country, and offer similar services. They have doctors, judicial police officers, social workers, psychologists, who all work together to ensure that the victim acquires all the services required under one roof,” CP Nyamwasa said.
“When a victim comes, he or she is directed to the judicial officer, who assesses the condition and sends them to medical-legal personnel for collecting scientific evidence and treatment thereafter. It’s the same medical report that facilitates the judicial process. The judicial officer also works with police stations in that district to ensure that victims are located and helped,” he added.
Since July 2009, Isange One Stop Centre at Kacyiru hospital has received over 16, 900 cases with majority 71% related to sexual abuse; domestic violence accounting for 29% of the cases.
According to statistics, about 81% of the total victims of sexual assault are aged below 18 years, those below five years account for 17% while male victims are 2%.
Overall, male victims of domestic violence account for 19%, with majority victims being women at 82%.
Between January and August this year, all the 44 Isange centres across the country have received a total of 3,378 cases with a quarter of them received at Isange Kacyiru.
Isange model also has provisions for emergency contraception, HIV prophylaxis, Sexual Transmission Infections (STI) prevention and other medications.
It provides free referral and specialized services like medico-legal, gynecology and obstetrics, mental health, legal and investigation, psychosocial, safe room and social integration services to victims of GBV and child abuse.
It also has provisions for preventing pregnancies that might arise out of rape and defilement.
Isange is under the supervision of the ministries of Gender and Family Promotion, Health, and the Rwanda National Police (RNP).
CP Nyamwasa also briefed the senators on future expansion plans and the decentralisation of the centres down to all health centres across the country as means to effectively and efficiently reach out to victims and further raise awareness on preventive measures.
Dr. Sindikubwabo hailed the impact of Isange and the role of RNP in raising awareness on preventing gender based violence and child abuse.
“When you analyse its responsibilities, you will find that the specific duty of the police is to receive and support victims of GBV and child abuse. These efforts need to be supported by everyone and all institutions,” Dr. Sindikubwabo said.
“We found out that Isange has enough and qualified staff; the idea to expand the services of Isange to health centres will also be a big step in responding to the increase in cases of child pregnancy, breaking silence and preventing under-age pregnancies,” he added.