The chairperson of European Parliament Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality (FEMM), Iratxe Garcia Perez has said that states and institutions should give much value and response to incidences of gender based violence.
Garcia was speaking on September 21 in an exclusive interview at Isange One Stop Centre at Kacyiru District Hospital, where she led a delegation from FEMM to witness how Rwanda National Police and partners work together to respond to gender based violence.
“We speak a lot about gender based violence, it’s an issue world over…in my country Spain, in Europe and other countries; there are still many women who still suffer gender based violence,” Garcia said.
“This morning we went to the centre of widows and orphans of the genocide and we can now witness how this building [Isange] supports victims of gender violence. To have such tools to support the victims, for us, it’s very important. We want to congratulate Rwanda for this initiative.”
“We are very impressed by Rwanda’s policy on equality and services offered to women, all my recognition for your work; Isange reflects a good example in the fight against gender based violence,” she noted.
Supt. Shafiga Murebwayire, the coordinator of Isange One Stop Centres, who received the delegation, noted that the idea to create Isange was born to bring together services that were previously scattered, costly and inconveniencing to the victims of GBV.
“This is a multidisciplinary and holistic approach that binds various institutions responsible for fighting and preventing GBV including the ministries of Gender and family Promotion, Health, Justice and Internal Security,” said Supt. Murebwayire.
“We have doctors, psychologists, social workers, judicial police officers and this helps a victim to acquire all the necessary services in one place and free of charge,” she added.
“Where necessary, we accompany the victims back to their homes to make sure that they are fully reintegrated in their families because some of them sometimes feel rejected. We work with various entities on grassroots to ensure that they are fully rehabilitated,” Supt. Murebwayire said.
Isange, which started as a pilot project in 2009, has since been expanded to 28 other district hospitals across the country.
It offers free medical, psycho-socio and legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse and has facilitated the public with easy means of communication with a toll-free line – 3029 – which has been essential in getting information from the affected for immediate response.