Lagos State Government has on Thursday, launched a 24/7 helpline to rapidly respond to survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).

This followed a 35 per cent surge in reported cases of GBV during the lockdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The helpline is made possible with the support of the European Union-funded Spotlight Initiative, Women’s Helping Hands Initiative and with technical support from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Speaking virtually, the wife of the Vice-President who is also the Executive Director of Women’s Helping Hands Initiative, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo lauded Lagos Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSVRT, on the initiative, and also advocating more awareness and swift punishment for perpetrators.

On her part, the Country Representative of the UNFPA, Ms Ulla Muller described gender-based violence as a gross violation of human rights.

She noted that providing accessible gender-based violence services was a step in attaining the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Explaining the features of the initiative, the state Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, and chairman of the DSVRT, Moyosore Onigbanjo, said, the virtual system would provide uninterrupted 24/7 access to trained service providers through a toll-free helpline 08000333333.

The Initiative also has a social media presence with the hashtag #safetyinanumber.