The Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has passed into law, a bill titled “Free and Compulsory Medical Treatment and Care for Child Victims of Sexual Violence”.
Presenting the report, Chairman, House Committee on Women Affairs, Hon. Felicia Bassey, underscored the need to protect children who are victims of sexual abuse and provide free, complete, and compulsory medical treatment and care.
Bassey who is also the Deputy Speaker, stated that sexual abuse against children has become a recurring decimal and inimical to decency. She further states that while perpetrators sometimes go unpunished, victims are denied access to free health care services and in some cases, no official report is made of the incident.
The Committee, therefore, recommended among other things that child victims of sexual violence should be given free and compulsory medical treatment and a sexual assault referral centre should be set up.
Other recommendations are that any hospital that fails to report cases of sexual violence or abuse is liable to a fine of one million naira.
Even parents or guardians who fail to report, or prevent a hospital from making a report of a case of sexual violence is liable to a term of imprisonment not exceeding three months with no option of fine.
The committee further recommended that any person, authority, including Police Officer or Security Agent that stands by and fails to perform his duty under the law has committed an offence and is liable upon conviction to a fine of N500,000 or imprisonment for two years or both.
The House after a clause-by-clause affirmation, thereafter, adopted the recommendations of the Committee and passed the bill into law after the third reading.
Meanwhile, the House has adjourned the plenary sitting to Tuesday, September 28, 2021.