Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI, condemns the Sierra Leone Police (SLP) for failing to control the rising spate of serious crimes like murder and rape, sexual assault and various forms of domestic violence and demands that the SLP treat them with the seriousness they deserve.

Campaign for Human Rights and Development International-CHRDI has evidence that over 3,362 women and girls across Sierra Leone, have experienced rape and sexual assault, domestic violence, sexual harassment, forced marriage, human trafficking, or other forms of violence within the last 24 months. According to the information we have at hand, the Family Support Unity recorded 11,362 cases in 2016, compared to 10,940 cases in 2015.

Out of the reported cases 2016, there were 9,135 Domestic Violence cases, including 2,149 cases of sexual penetration and 78 cases of rape.

In comparison, the figures for 2015 were Domestic Violence 8,043 cases, Sexual Penetration 2,398 cases and Rape 103 cases.

Violence against women is still wide-spread, and an undeniable reality in Sierra Leone .

The current police crime report covers the various types of violence committed against women which occurred during 2016 to January 2017 . In addition to providing statistical information, the Police report catalogued terrible details on incidents of violence against women. Sixty one thousand, one hundred and eighty-eight (61,188) cases were recorded nationally in the six Police Command Regions, covering 36 Local Command Units (Divisions), 85 Stations and 181 Police posts.

The Western Area recorded a combined increase of 1,534 (35,112 to 36,646), giving a percentage increase of 4.3%. Freetown East recorded a slight decrease of cases, 0.77% (18,567 to 18,424), while Freetown West recorded a significant increase, 10.14% (1,677 ie 16,545 to 18,222). The Northern Region recorded a combined increase of 452 (9,873 to 9,421) giving a percentage increase of 4.58%. Western Region recorded a 31.71% increase (1,852; 5,841 to 3,989) while North Eastern Region recorded a significant decrease of 34.72% (1, 4,032 to 5,432). Southern Region recorded a reduction of 15.32% of crime reported between 2015 and 2016 1.e 1,173 (7,655 to 6,482) while Eastern Region recorded an increase of 8.07% ie 645 (7,994 to 8,639).

Gender-based violence against women and girls including all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape is a major human rights violation. It is estimated that one in three women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime and two out of three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner.

Despite the improvements in raising collective awareness about the prohibition of all forms of gender-based violence including sexual violence, sexual harassment and rape, women around the country continue to be sexually assaulted, raped, threatened, or inappropriately touched, in at least one or more instances in their life and most of these cases rarely come to the attention of the public, nor are perpetrators brought to justice. Many victims experience re-victimization due to a widespread victim-blaming culture across the media and society alike, which tends to stigmatize victims, thus deterring them from reporting.

Chapter 2-section 5-1a of the 1991 constitution of Sierra Leone states clearly that the security peace and welfare of the people of Sierra Leone shall be the primary purpose and responsibility of Government and to this end it shall be the duty of the armed forces, the police, public officers and all security agents to protect and safeguard the people of Sierra Leone.

The SLP still has time to venerate itself by performing its constitutional duty. We in the CHRDI would not relent on bringing the issue into public discourse until the SLP does so.

Note: Campaign for Human Rights and Development International (CHRDI ) is a Rights based Public social-policy advocacy Organisation. We Draw attention to the responsibility of duty-bearers to uphold human rights, and seek to support rights-holders to claim their rights. CHRDI is in Special Consultative Status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council and accredited to many UN Agencies.