Cleen Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has advised women and girls suffering from Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) to seek alternative shelter during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Ms Teresa Chigozirim-Okoro, Head of Public Safety and Security Department of the foundation, gave the advise in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.
Chigozirim-Okoro said that women and girls suffering from various forms of abuse during the compulsory sit-at-home should seek alternative shelter away from their abusers to trusted families, churches amongst others.
She said that seeking alternative shelter during the lockdown was paramount for victims in order to prevent further abuse and possible case of death and destruction of property.
According to her, seeking alternative shelter will eliminate unhealthy and volatile environments, as well as reduce close proximity of preys from their predators.
“Victims should avoid volatile environment with their predators such as spouses, family members, close relatives and neighbours.
“It is important that women and girls speak up and seek help on time. Women should also look out for each other, and intervene or report suspected cases during this lockdown.
“More importantly, those who cannot secure alternative shelter should give their abusers enough space even in the midst of observing the lockdown under the same roof.
“Women should avoid unnecessary physical and emotional demands and still be mindful of family finances, as all this can be trigger factors,” she said.
She advised SGBV victims to use technology for escalation of complaints as well as for distress calls to relevant authorities.
She also urged women and girls suffering from SGBV, to ensure that their phones were charged and constantly loaded with airtime for emergency calls.
“Victims should have the numbers of trusted family and friends’ and also numbers of human rights organisations and security agents.
“Most importantly they must maintain peace in the face of provocation,” she said.
The UN warned that since the beginning of the lockdown imposed by several governments to help stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, domestic violence cases have increased immensely.
The UN Chief, Antonio Guterres said a large reason for this is may be that where victims previously found space to breathe, whether at work or for social reasons, they are now spending all their time at home with their abusers. Likewise, children are not able to attend school, which many parents consider a safety net.
He urged member states to help victims of domestic violence.