The Lagos State Government, recognizing the implication of a significant youthful population engaging in high-risk sexual behaviours, established Hello Lagos as an integrated youth-friendly centre (YFC) in 2002. The survey was to assess the need for the Youth Friendly Centres by the youths in Agege, Ikeja and Oko-Awo communities.
Despite global efforts to address abuse, organizations implementing HIV prevention programs still lack the capacity to identify and link those affected to services. Youth Empowerment and Development Initiative (YEDI) conducted a survey in Nigeria to assess disclosure of abuse, types of abuse experienced, and referrals to support services in a sport-based HIV prevention program.
The survey was conducted on youth peer leaders (YPL) who serve as positive role models and are trained to deliver key messages to local youth participants on a range of adolescent health topics. Focus group discussions (FGD) involving 45 YPLs in Lagos were conducted throughout a week in April 2015. YPLs were queried on types of abuse disclosed by participants during and outside of program implementation. The FGD investigated current disclosure and referral protocols while providing insight into the abusive environment.
Of the 45 Coaches, 14 (31.11%) had an instance of abuse disclosed to them. Sexual abuse cases were most common, occurring 38% of the time. There was no difference in the frequency of disclosure during or after interventions. 2 (14%) of the 14 disclosures were referred to services and resolved. Outside threats received as a result of the disclosures reduced the rate of follow-up between YPLs and participants.
YPLs create trusting relationships that foster disclosures of abuse; however, post-disclosure procedures matter to ensure psychosocial support and follow-up. Procedures should include a protocol to ensure the safety of staff and participants within complex cultural landscapes. The threats received reflect the cultural barriers which effective responses must address.
YPLs can provide support and linkages to services that address youth psychosocial support needs. Procedures should include identification and referral to services in a streamlined process that addresses outside factors within the cultural context. YPLs can conduct home visits as a means of follow-up.