By Tapeng Michael Ohure
South Sudan ought to include gender-based violence (GBV) component in police training curriculum, Justice Ajonye Perpetua, the acting Secretary General of South Sudan Law Society (SSLS) said.
Perpetua was speaking at a workshop organized by SSLS to raise community awareness on gender-sensitive police response and GBV survivors’ protection.
“We need holistic training on gender-based violence among police trainees so that when they are passed out, each police officer has an idea of what constitutes gender-based violence,” she said.
Gender-based violence has long been a pervasive and universal human rights issue, rooted in unequal power relations, structural inequalities and discrimination.
Perpetua said over 2,400 GBV cases were recorded in South Sudan between February and July 2021, decrying the rising GBV cases among boys and men.
“It is now upon us to protect the women, men, boys, girls and children in South Sudan from the gender-based violence practices in our societies,” she said.
Gasper Amule, also from SSLS emphasized the importance of establishing police units consisting of female police officers, particularly dedicated to handle GBV cases
“The role of female officers is particularly important in interviewing victims, witnesses and suspects, especially with women and children. The ability for a victim or survivor to speak to a person of their own gender will ensure that the best evidence is obtained and victims are supported,” Amule said.
Amule said gender-sensitive police reforms will enable effective prevention as well as response to specific security needs of women and men, boys and girls.
“Gender sensitive police reforms should also contribute towards building police institutions which are non-discriminatory, reflective of the diversity of citizens and accountable to the population at large. As such, police services will better fulfill the police’s essential mandate of upholding the rule of law,” he said.
Poverty, abuses of power, corruption, culture, vulnerability and gender roles, among other were considered key factors causing GBV in the country.
In December 2020, a specialized court for sexual, gender-based violence and conflict-related sexual violence was launched in the country.