The Mirabel Centre which opened on July 1, 2013, is a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) established and managed by Partnership for Justice (PJ) to provide holistic and high quality medical and psychosocial services to survivors of sexual assault and rape. Men, women and children who have either recently or in the past experienced rape or sexual assault benefit from the free and comprehensive medical, counseling and aftercare services provided by the Mirabel Centre. These services are delivered to the clients in a professional and timely manner to help them overcome the trauma of rape and sexual assault.
The Mirabel Centre is the first sexual assault referral Centre in Nigeria and the second in West Africa.
Services offered at the Centre include
• Medical examination and treatment by trained forensic examiners for illness and injuries caused by the assault.
• Counselling (face to face and telephony) to help cope with emotional and psychological effects of rape
• Help in reporting the matter to the police
• Information on the legal system
• Referral to other agencies for help not provided by the Centre
• Free pregnancy tests and other tests associated with rape
• Free medication and drugs
• Refund of clients’ transportation costs to the Centre in selected cases.
• For some of the clients, there has been need for a change of clothing.
• Where there is need for laboratory tests not provided in the Centre, the Centre also bears the cost of these tests and makes referral to other agencies/organisations for follow up services not available at the Centre.
•The Centre provides medical reports for clients on referral from the Police which aids in the investigation and subsequent prosecution of perpetrators
PROFESSIONALS AT THE CENTRE
Specially trained professionals who work at the Centre offer their services to the victims and their family members for as long as such services are needed. In order to provide these specialist services, the professionals underwent an intensive 2 weeks free training on forensic medical examination for sexual abuse victims. Over 30 counsellors were also trained as sexual abuse counselors to provide psycho social support to victims of abuse. These training sessions were carried out by experienced experts from the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester, UK.
WHY THE MIRABEL CENTRE IS UNIQUE
• First in Nigeria: The Mirabel Centre is the first Sexual Assault Referral Centre in Nigeria.
• Specially trained compassionate professionals: All the staff at the Centre are specially trained professionals with skills to deal with issues of rape and sexual assault. The doctors and nurses underwent intensive two week training on forensic medical examination from a licensed forensic medical examiner from the St Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre, UK. They are therefore equipped with skills to carry out intensive head to toe examination of clients while looking out for injuries. The counselors were also specially trained with skills to attend to clients in a professional manner while maintaining confidentiality and respecting the clients’ choices. The trainer was a licensed trauma counselor from the St Marys’ Sexual Assault Referral Centre, UK.
• Credible, dis-aggregated data: The management information system at the Centre provides credible, disaggregated and verifiable data on sexual assault in Lagos state. It provides information about the age bracket of women and girls who are victims, the areas of the state with the highest incidents of rape and sexual assault, as well as the type of assault that is most prevalent in the state.
• One stop service centre: The Centre is a one stop service centre that provides timely and professional services free of charge to survivors of rape and sexual assault.
• Clientele: The Centre provides services to different clients including children, girls, boys and women. The youngest client at the Centre was 4 months and the oldest 70 years old. As of January 2016, the Centre had provided services to over 1,200clients from different parts of Lagos State
- Justice for All Programme of DFID
- Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH)
- Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT)
- Ministry of Justice, Lagos State
- Ministry of Health, Lagos State
- Office of the Public Defender (OPD)
- Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation (WAPA)
- The Nigeria Police, Lagos State Command
- The Media
- Civil Society Organisations