A crisis hotline 5555 has tbeen launched in the Somali Capital, Mogadishu for victims of rape and all forms of sexual abuse. Championed by civil society organization, Somali Women Development Centre (SWDC) and the Somali Police Force, the crisis line is expected facilitate timely reporting and response to cases of abuse. The initiative was launched at a ceremony attended by the Somali Police Force, non-governmental organizations as well as the media. The use of the line has been launched as six-month pilot project limited to Mogadishu’s Banadir region, supported by mobile telephone company Nationlink Telecommunications and is expected to be extended to other parts of the country.
SWDC, an organization that helps victims of abuse says the most prevalent cases have been reported among young girls, boys, women and the elderly. Sahra Mohamed Ahmed, Legal Adviser with SWDC says the initiative codenamed 5555 Ceebla (Somali for no shame) will be supported by a team of nurses, social workers, investigators and legal officers. Currently, 40 legal officers all graduates of Mogadishu University have been lined up, 25 of whom are female.
“The first step we usually take after receiving a complaint would be liaising with the police and hospitals but now with Ceebla, we will have more facilities and the voiceless girl will now have a voice. We will support the victim in reporting the crime to the police in order to get referral letter to the hospital. We will then bring the doctor’s report or evidence to the police and from there the police will arrest the perpetrator, and then pass the case to the courts,” said Sahra.
She added that dealing with the stigma attached to cases of abuse is also central to the interventions:
.“We start with counselling as the victims are traumatised but we don’t stop, we also help them acquire employment. These victims are isolated due the stigma attached to rape; we therefore want them to be re-integrated into the communities. The victims might be mothers, girls or children and we keep in touch with the survivors,” she noted. Col. Mohamed Dahir Abdulle, Somali Police Force Commander of Waliyow ade station welcomed the initiative and is hopeful that it will greatly impact on the security of the vulnerable members of society.