By Samira Larbie/Lilliana Owusu-Akyem- GNA
Accra, Nov. 08, GNA - Mr Adolf Awuku-Bekoe, a Clinical Psychologist and National Coordinator of Coalition of Domestic Violence, has called on government to commit resources to make laws on gender-based violence work.
He said it was a shame that even though government as well as stakeholders were condemning the act of domestic violence, there was no single shelter to protect abused victims from their perpetrators.
Mr Awuku-Bekoe who is also a Lecturer at the Methodist University made the call at a training workshop organised by the Domestic Violence Secretariat, Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, to educate Head teachers and religious leaders on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
The training sought to abreast stakeholders with the current trend of sexual violence to help fight the menace as well as broaden their scope on gender-based violence and the existing policies to address such cases.
He said it was important government addressed the issue of domestic violence because they talked of wealth creation and these incidents takes away victims meagre resources from them, thereby becoming dependent on the state during these emotional stages of their lives.
He said in fighting domestic violence, there was the need for individual commitment by all especially men to eschew violence in any way possible as this was affecting communities negatively.
“One have to commit his/herself by ensuring that they would not be perpetrators and not to be a victim before calling on society to do what was needed to protect and educate people to get the right things done,” he added.
He urged people in violent marriages and relationships to advise themselves accordingly, as God commands couples not to treat their spouses’ violently.
He said government must up their game in terms of the focus and support they have for Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) saying, since 20 years of the establishment of the Unit, it had not progressed beyond the basic things they did, because of unavailable resources.
It was therefore important for the effective implementation of the laws to address sexual and gender-based violence across the country.
Domestic violence is a great violation of the abused person’s right, it is mostly women and children who are abused and this tends to dehumanise them.
Dr. Mrs Afisah Zakariah, the Chief Director of the Ministry, said statistics from DOVVSU had indicated that rape cases increased to 316 in 2016 but decreased to 311 in 2017.
She said defilement reduced from 1198 in 2015 to 722 in 2016 but increased to 793 in 2017, assault also reduced from 5494 in 2015 to 4190 in 2016 and further increased to 5019 in 2017.
She said this was a worrying situation and calls for intensified efforts from all stakeholders to bring the numbers to the barest minimum.
Dr Zakariah said the Ministry had embarked on education at various levels and put in place several policies to ensure the wellbeing of Ghanaians, the numbers keep increasing hence, the need to include key stakeholders who have special roles in shaping the lives of people.
She entreated the heads of schools and religious leaders to go out there and become change agents with the knowledge they have acquired and respond appropriately to issues of SGBV that confront them.
“We expect that we all will act in our small way in preventing SGBV in our societies by assisting victims and report to the appropriate authorities.
The training educated participants on the Social Protection Policy brief as well as the Domestic Violence Act 2007,Act 732 to enable them know what to do at a given time.