Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio recently declared rape and sexual violence a “national emergency” in the country.
This follows a series of recorded cases involving minors that doubled over the last year.
According to the president, perpetrators of such crimes will face up to life imprisonment and that all public hospitals should provide free medical services for victims of sexual assault.
He also announced the formation of a new police division dedicated to investigating sexual violence, a special magistrate court that would handle such cases and a public hotline specifically for reporting sexual violence.
The president also noted that thousands of cases go unreported because of a culture of silence or indifference.