Helpio Helps Victims Report Rape/Sexual Assault Cases and Get Offenders Prosecuted

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A survey carried out by NOI polls showed that 1 in every 3 girls in Nigeria would have experienced at least one form of sexual harassment before they reach the age of 25 years. Of the cases of harassment, the ones that result in rape are underreported.

In an analysis by The Conversation, 90% of rape victims reported by media agencies are females and 99% of the perpetrators are male. Younger females are more vulnerable than older females, 46.1% are aged between 11 and 20 while one-third of the victims are between 1 and 10 years old. Women between 21 and 30 years old form 8.4% of the victims.

For the analysis, 381 rape cases were collated from the daily reports by The Sun and The Punch.

An examination of the rape cases also revealed that the sexual violations are mostly carried out by people that are close to the women and girls, like fathers, clergymen, neighbours and relatives. Rape cases are underreported in Nigeria because of the stigma attached to rape as well as the fact that some of the perpetrators end up walking free and continue with their inhumane acts.

According to the results of the poll by NOI, only 53% of rape cases are actually reported to the police. Out of the 53% that are reported, offenders are left to walk free in 33% of the cases which means that 3 out of 10 sex offenders do not get justice delivered to them. This could discourage others from speaking up about assaults, choosing instead to suffer in silence.

To encourage more victims to report rape cases as well as ensure that the offenders are brought to book, Saadat Aliyu created the mobile app, Helpio. Aliyu, a Kano-based software developer and founder of Shamrock Innovations, is a woman and youth-centric tech innovation hub.

Helpio is available for download on the PlayStore and comes with the option of Hausa or English language.

What Helpio does

Helpio’s features provide 4 distinct services. The ‘Learn More‘ feature allows people to learn about rape, sexual assault, child sexual assault and how to recognize signs that indicate that some form of assault is happening. It also provides helpful tips on how to prevent such unpleasant occurrences from happening.

The ‘Report Abuse‘ feature is another very helpful tool on the app as it allows people to report cases of sexual assault and give details that can help in prosecuting the offender. Where someone is in immediate danger of being assaulted or raped, the app provides helplines that can provide timely help.

The third feature is ‘Counselling‘ and it gives the user access to legal practitioners, counsellors, doctors and other experts for free. The experts are all from multi-disciplinary teams of non-governmental organizations (NGO) and willingly give their time and knowledge to users through the chatbox on the Helpio app.

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The fourth feature is ‘Experiences‘ and it contains a compilation of stories of people who have been assaulted at one point or the other. The stories help other users of the app to see how perpetrators put young boys and girls in situations where they can take undue advantage of them sexually. By reading the experiences of others, users are more knowledgeable about what to avoid and what could lead to unpleasant situations.

There are 2 help centres listed on the app with details for users who want to visit any. The centres are The Initiative for the Support of Victims of Sexual Abuse, Orphans and Less Privileged (ISSOL) and The Equity Destitute Child Right and Welfare Initiative (EDCRAW).

Using the app

Setting up an account on Helpio is a simple process that requires just the name and email address. The app has a simple layout with all the essential features listed on the landing page. The chat section with the expert follows the format of other chat platforms like Whatsapp and generally provides a good user experience.

Helpio Helps Victims Report Rape/Sexual Assault Cases and Get Offenders Prosecuted

Initiating a chat with an expert does not guarantee an immediate response, however, and it is a better option to call the emergency helplines if the issue is an urgent one.

Suggested Read: Here are the Major Scandals that Rocked the Techspace in 2020

Pricing

Helpio app is free to use because the experts are from NGOs who are partnering with the platform to make sure that victims and potential victims have access to the help that they need when dealing with a case of sexual harassment.

Sexual harassment is a crime in Nigeria and with the right evidence and expert help, perpetrators can be prosecuted and made to serve as a deterrent to others. Helpio helps people to avoid getting assaulted sexually and to get the expert help that they need if the unpleasant has already taken place.


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