Procedures For Prevention Of Gender-Based Violence Launched

The State Culture, Social Development, Youth and Sports Minister’s Patrick Lodinga Kotein said there are procedures, roles, and responsibilities for each actor. [Gurtong | File]

Launched shortly after conclusion of Celebration International Women’s Day at Torit Freedom Square in Torit, the UNHCR Community Service Associate Tobias Lomuya Gabriel said GBV is a life threatening protection, health, and human rights issue that can have a devastating impact on women and children in particular, as well as families and communities.

He explained that the State Standard Operating Procedures for GBV prevention and response to GBV have been adapted from the South Sudan GBV SOPs, which were developed nationally during 2008 and 2009 respectively leading to subsequent approval by the National Council of Ministers in October 2009. 

He elaborated that these Standard Operating Procedures have been developed to facilitate joint action by all actors to prevent and respond to GBV in Eastern Equatoria State, South Sudan.

The State Culture, Social Development, Youth and Sports Minister’s Patrick Lodinga Kotein said there are procedures, roles, and responsibilities for each actor and the SOPs are designed to be used together with established guidelines and other good practice materials related to prevention of and response to GBV.

The SOPs detail the minimum procedures for both prevention and response to GBV, including which actors will be responsible for actions in the four main response sectors: health, psychosocial, legal/justice and security. 

The Standard operating procedures are specific procedures and agreements among organisations that reflect the plan of action and individual organisations’ roles and responsibilities.

Officials narrated that the process itself was considered an intervention one, in that it engages all of the relevant actors and will involve collaboration, inter-organizational and inter-sectoral dialogue, community participation, negotiation, and thereby increase all participants’ understanding of how to prevent and respond to gender-based violence.

“The State GBV SOPs which detail the minimum procedures for both prevention and response to GBV available to everyone living in EES, have been developed through a process involving all stakeholders in the State including government, community, police, UN, NGO, CBO and FBO stakeholders during October 2011,” he added.

Among some of the actors engaged in the document’s development include representatives from Health, psychosocial, safety or security, and legal or justice or protection sectors such as UN agencies, national and international NGOs, community-based organizations, and relevant government authorities.

Ideally, representatives from other sectors/clusters such as education, food and nutrition, camp management/shelter/site planning, and water/sanitation, participated in at least in some of the discussions for SOP development.

Types of GBV include; female genital cutting or mutilation, rape, sexual assault, physical assault, Physical, forced marriage, denial of resources, opportunities and services, psychological or emotional abuse.

Citing confidentiality, the State officials explained that the SOPs’ document has guiding principles in which all actors have agree to adhere to, that lays down norms considered best practice such as behaviour, intervention, and assistance.

All written information about survivors must be maintained in secure, locked files.

The State Culture, Social Development, Youth and Sports Minister Lodinga confirmed that the State Protection Cluster will always meet once a month as stipulated in the document, in order to coordinate activities of actors and to discuss and analyze information on general protection concerns including GBV. Minutes of PC meetings will be shared to the GBV WG each month.

However, in EES there is GBV Working Group (WG) which meets once a month to coordinate activities of actors and to discuss and analyze information about GBV incidents being reported, general outcomes, security issues, referral and coordination issues, and other factors. This information will guide the continuous development of prevention and response actions.

Officials have disclosed that nationally, the RSS Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare (MoGCSW), in collaboration with the State Ministries of Culture and Social Development, ensures that regular information sharing, coordination, and feedback among all actors take place through regular meetings and written reports.

During the yesterday’s launched, the UNHCR Community Service Associate’s Lomuya invited the State Culture, Social Development, Youth and Sports Minister’s Lodinga to further welcome the State Deputy Governor Surur who was the key guest of honor of the launch, to officially handed over copies of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) for prevention of and response to gender based violence (GBV) to key multi-sectoral actors at the occasion.

Among some of the key multi-sectoral actors present at the occasion and were called to receive one copy each of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) for prevention of and response to gender based violence (GBV) included the State governor’s office, State Legislative Assembly Speaker’s office, office of the State Ministry of Culture, Social Development, Youth and Sports, the State Health Ministry’s office, state police’s office, EES President of High Court’s office, office of the committee of Gender and Health’s office, UNMISS State Coordinator’s office and Torit County Commissioner’s office.

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