Center in Dessie Begins Providing Support to GBV Survivors

DESSIE – A one-stop center (OSC) in Dessie town of Amhara regional state has begun offering comprehensive services to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) during the recent conflict in northern Ethiopia.

The government and UNICEF inaugurated the center, which provides medical, legal, and psychosocial services to victims of GBV in a safe environment, on Monday.

“Women and children have suffered from an increase in gender-based violence due to the conflict,” said Ergogie Teafaye (PhD, Women and Social Affairs Minister of Ethiopia.

“This has a life-long impact on their physical, sexual and psycho-social well-being.”

The minister said the one-stop center “gives access to a holistic service to survivors to recover from such trauma and reduces the incidences of GBV in the future.”

A wide community awareness campaign is also underway so that victims of gender-based violence will not be afraid to seek the services provided at the centre due to stigma.  

‘A critical response’

The centre provides “critical medical services”, according to a joint statement issued by the government and UNICEF.

The services include clinical management of rape, abortion care, emergency contraceptive and treatment for diseases like HIV and sexually transmitted infections and hepatitis B.

The center also offers mental health and psychosocial services as well as legal aid to victims, along with referral services involving shelter and livelihood support.

“The establishment of the one-stop center is a critical step towards scaling up prevention and response services for children who are victims of GBV,” said Gianfranco Rotigliano, UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia.

In the last two months, the case flow has increased due to the construction of the new centre with the full-service provision.

There is also a plan to establish more one-stop centers in Amhara region including Debark and Sekota, according to government and UNICEF officials.