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Somali Police Force to introduce Gender Desks to cater for cases of sexual abuse

Storyline:National News

The Somali Police Force will set up gender desks throughout the country to address the rising cases of sexual gender based violence (SGBV) in Somalia, the deputy commissioner of police for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Christine Alalo has said.

The deputy commissioner of police was speaking during the closure of a two-week course on gender based violence at the General Kahiye Police Academy in Mogadishu, where she added to say that sexual violence was not just confined in the family set up but was also prevalent in the work place. “Gender based violence cuts across. You could hear what I was talking about not just in the families but even in our places of work, these kinds of violence are there. But people don’t take them seriously. I mentioned it some time they are looked at as very, very minor offences and yet they are the most serious offences that result into serious crimes like it can result in murder”, the deputy police commissioner said.

She challenged the Somali police officers who had been trained to put into practice what they had learnt. She said AMISOM was happy to support the police force to ensure the gender desks are set up across the country. She urged the police to go out and encourage the populations to report cases of sexual violence once the desks have been established.

In his remarks, the deputy police commissioner of the Somali Police Force General Mukhtar Hussein Afrah said the training was aimed at protecting Somali women from sexual abuse. He said those trained would be deployed throughout the country to pioneer the setting up of the SGBV desks.

“The purpose of the training was to prevent sexual abuse of Somali women or anyone who sought asylum in the country and to give them the opportunity to report their problems to fellow women. It was also about protection of vulnerable children. Offices will be opened in all police stations in Banadir region. The training will be conducted across the country to build the capacity of the police officers on this issue. This was the fourth training to be conducted where 40 police officers were trained on sexual and gender based violence. These officers will be deployed to various police stations in Banadir region. Similar trainings are ongoing in Baidoa, Beletweyne and Kismayo. This is meant to protect women and children from sexual based violence,”Gen. Afrah added.

The head of gender and child protection in the Somali Police Force Lt. Idil Hassan said the gender desks would be set up within the next two weeks starting with Banadir region in Mogadishu.
“The aim of this course was for us to open gender desks at each and every police station. So now that we have 40 participants who are actually experts, hopefully they are aware of the SGBV course and how the report and investigations is going to be, we can say the next step would be to set up these gender desks. It will be very soon, I think about a week or two, that we’ll actually be taking these gender desks to each and every police station in Banadir”, Lt Hassan said.

During the ceremony, 40 police officers were awarded certificates after successfully completing the training. Similar trainings were also undertaken in Baidoa and Beletweyne.

The training of SGBV officers and the setting up of gender desks in all police stations is part of the initiatives by AMISOM to stabilize Somalia following more than two decades of war.