College of Physicians and Surgeons 26 June 2018.
GBV Situation in South Sudan
Gender-based violence, including rape, is an acknowledged problem throughout the World. If left unaddressed, Sexual Violence may have serious negative personal and social consequences for the survivors as well for their families and the larger community. It is critical to prevent Sexual Violence because is a Human rights violation. Survivors may suffer from depression, anxiety, contract HIV or other STIs, un-wanted pregnancies or stigma from family and community members. Historically Sexual Violence has consistently arisen in high proportion result of situations of conflict, forced migration. It continues to be so today.
Challenges to access timely GBV services especially sexual violence cases in relation to Police Form 8
Although health care for sexual violence survivors is one of the most critical and life-saving responses and yet in South Sudan, the issue of Police form 8 still poses a barrier to medical services for many survivors. This barrier puts them at risk of HIV, unwanted pregnancy and STIs. According to the GBV Information Management System (IMS) 2017, out of the 3,585 cases reported, 17% of the reported GBV incidents are due to sexual violence, which includes rape or sexual assault-. This does not in any way portray all sexual violence cases in South Sudan, however, they all need timely services. Below are some of the key issues with Police form 8.
Survivors are forced to fill Police form 8 before they access medical services. This has delayed access to medical services and promoted stigma plus possible retribution by the perpetrator on the survivors resulting in most survivors not to access services in time
Many Health workers are not aware of the procedure of Police form 8 and are denying survivor’s services although it was amended in the law in 2005.
Some Health workers and Police are charging survivors for filling the Police Form 8 which poses yet another barrier
Efforts to Provide Services to Sexual Violence Survivors
MoH with support from partners e.g. UNFPA, UNICEF support procurement and availability of Post rape kits in the country for clinical management of Rape. The MoH with support from partners, continue to build capacity of health personnel in clinical management of rape, to allow quality care and survivor centred approach to all rape survivors
MoH, in collaboration with Ministry of Gender child and Social welfare, have established a GBV One stop centre for integrated Lifesaving services for GBV survivors under one roof, using a health facility as an entry point. One is operational in JTH and 3 more such models are being established in Rumbek, Maluakon and Wau.
Although there are some efforts by the Ministry on the Police Form 8, more is still desired.
The MoH has developed a Circular on PF8 to complement the circular issued by the Ministry of Interior (MoI). The MOH Circular will help to give a directive to all Health Facilities and its personnel on the importance of provision of Clinical Management of Rape (CMR) services to all who need, without using PF8 as a stumbling block to access to this much needed service.
More still need to be done in the following areas below;
Form 8 is not required before medical treatment can be provided to promote timely access of medical services
Form 8 does not require a fee to be completed by the police
Form 8 is only necessary for survivors who are pursuing legal or police action
Form 8 should be available in the Police station where possible
The law does not state that Form 8 should first be filled by survivors before they access medical services. It is assumed by service providers. Survivors should be allowed to choose to report or not. Health care workers should be protected when they fill the police form 8-
Need to promote confidentiality and sensitivity at the Police and health facilities to promote user friendly services for survivors and encourage them to report cases.
Form 8 is only completed if a survivor chooses to report her case to the police in line with the Interagency Standing Guidelines and best practice standards.
Form 8 is not a reliable tool for collecting GBV statistics- Many survivors of gender-based violence do not report. The few who report are mostly concerned with saving their life through medical treatments. A system of collecting GBV statistics through the GBVIMS is being rolled out in South Sudan. As more service providers adopt this system, more reliable and informative data on GBV is available