Sierra Leone: National Emergency Declared over Rape and Sexual Assault

Sierra Leone has declared a national emergency over sexual and gender-based violence after recorded cases of rape and assault doubled over the last year. Public outrage over sexual and gender based violence has been mounting following a series of high-profile cases.

Activists say many assaults are not punished under current laws, and of those covered under current laws, few cases are reported and successfully prosecuted. More than 8,500 cases were recorded last year, a rise of nearly 4,000 from the previous year in a country of 7.5 million people. The factors behind the spike are not yet clear.

The president of an all-female lawyers group, who works with victims of sexual violence, cautioned that the data was incomplete as it had only been gathered from a handful of centers around the country.

 

 

Photo: “Paul Simpson” by Development Planning Unit University College London is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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