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04 November 2015

Rwandan programme to tackle gender-based violence spotlighted at INTERPOL General Assembly

KIGALI, Rwanda – Rwanda’s ‘Isange one stop centre’ model has been highlighted at the INTERPOL General Assembly as an example of best practice for preventing and responding to gender-based violence and child domestic abuse.

Launched in July 2009, there are currently 17 Isange - a Kinyarwanda word which means ‘feel at home’ - centres around the country which have already dealt with more than 10,000 cases.

In addition to operating a 24-hour phone hotline, each centre provides access to free medical and psychosocial care and support services in addition to offering protection from further violence and investigation of crimes including the collection of forensic evidence.

Rwanda’s Minister of Gender and Family promotion, Oda Gasinzigwa told delegates the Isange one stop centre model had made a positive transformational impact on the lives of its beneficiaries.

“The government of Rwanda is committed and works tirelessly to end violence against women and girls,” said Minister Gasinzigwa.

“Gender-based violence is one of the global threats that hinders sustainable development and is the most extreme expression of unequal gender relations in society.

“The world must be in synergy to fight and respond to gender-based violence and we must stand up to end the impunity that too often leaves perpetrators unaccountable for their crimes,” concluded the Minister.

INTERPOL Secretary General Jürgen Stock said there were many lessons to be learned from the Isange model.

“The Isange centre multi-agency approach to deliver a unified service is a model not just in dealing with gender-based violence and child abuse, but for all types of crime, and Rwanda is to be commended for this innovative and effective programme,” said Secretary General Stock.

Inspector General of the Rwandan National Police, Emmanuel Gasana, said that since the creation of the Isange centres, reporting rates of gender-based violence had increased by 50 per cent.

“National awareness campaigns and preventive community policing carried out by the Rwanda National Police have helped the people of Rwanda shed their fear of the reporting process and ensure that violators are fully aware of the legal consequences of their acts,” said Inspector General Gasana.

“Preventing and eradicating violence against women and girls is not only about fighting crime, it is also a serious developmental issue which must be addressed by citizens and police forces of all countries without reserve, fear or favour.

“Rwanda’s Isange One Stop Centre has become an innovative worldwide model for police forces in all continents, with officials travelling from all over the world to learn from our holistic, multi-sectoral approach in fighting gender-based violence,” added the Inspector General.

The Isange model, which has been adopted by the Eastern Africa Police Chiefs Cooperation Organization (EAPCCO), has also received international recognition as the winner of the United Nations Public Service Award.