Mrs Juliana Joseph, the Director, Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), Kaduna, said on Thursday, that the centre has received 24 cases of sexual assaults in the first quarter of 2017.

Joseph told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Kaduna that the victims were mostly minors, adding that most of them have tested positive to asexually transmitted diseases.

“Two cases were received in January, six cases in February which included a male child, eight cases in March, also a male child and eight other cases in April comprising of six female and two male.”

She said that among those raped in March, one of them, a 25-year old lady, tested positive for pregnancy.

Joseph also said that the two male victims violated in April, one 13 and the other 15-year-old were from same parents and were orally and anally assaulted by their own father who infected them with hepatitis B.

The director added that one of the perpetrators has tested positive to HIV while his victim, two minors are still undergoing HIV screening.

She called on parents and caregivers to watch over their girl and male-child at all times, adding that even neighbours and relations should be treated as potential suspects.

Joseph said that the perpetrators are being persecuted by the police, noting that the ugly development could have life time effect on the lives of the victims if continued.

“Most of the perpetrators of this heinous crimes are unsuspecting neighbours, relations and even parents.

“This ugly trend would continue until the perpetrators of such act were exposed and prosecuted.

“Parents and caregivers have a duty of protecting their children from all forms of abuse.”

She urged caregivers to report to relevant authorities whenever someone took undue advantage of young girls or boys, no matter who might be involved.

She said that SARC services are open to every member of the society for free.

NAN reports that Kaduna State Government inaugurated the centre in December 2016, to provide psycho-social counselling, forensic examination, medical treatment and legal services for victims of sexual assault.

The centre, located at the Gwamna Awan General Hospital, Kakuri, Kaduna, was established with support from UK Department for International Development (DFID) under its Justice for All project.

The centre is being run by Ministry of Justice, in partnership with Ministry of Women and Social Development, Ministry of Health and other stakeholders.

The Ministry of Health provides forensic examination and treatment, the Nigerian Police investigates, and the Ministry of Justice provides legal services.

The Ministry of Women Affairs on the other hand, provides psycho-social counseling for the victims.