By Gifty Amofa, GNA
Accra, Feb. 20, GNA - Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been urged to re-energise the efforts they put into getting the Domestic Violence Act passed by ensuring it becomes a reality.
It is gratifying to know that the law is good on paper but must be activated to ensure that it sees the day of light for members of the public to receive the social justice they deserved.
Professor Kwasi Prempeh, the Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana) made the call in Accra on Wednesday to mark the World Day of Social Justice.
It was commemorated with a round table discussion on the theme: “Full Implementation and Compliance of Domestic Violence Act (Act 732): Government, Parliament and Judiciary Responsibilities”.
The Act, which was passed in 2007, was to institute criminal sanctions for perpetrators of DV and offer remedies for domestic violence victims and improve Ghana’s compliance with its international human rights obligations.
The DV Secretariat, the Management Board as well as DV Fund, were launched to ensure government’s compliance to the Act.
He said CSOs had gone to sleep after helping to pass the law and it was time they let the ambition of the law to be realised.
“There is still more work to be done with advocacy,” he charged them.
Professor Prempeh also called for mid-way remedies as some victims of DV did not want to press criminal charges against perpetrators and that would let them off the hook, adding that, it would also ensure they did not escape sanctions.
He called on the CSOs to learn from their peer countries as to how they were dealing with DV cases.
Dr Angela Dwamena Aboagye, Executive Director, the Ark Foundation, called for the audit report on the DV Funds that was launched to support the DV Secretariat.
She said, nobody knew the whereabouts of the funds to be accessed or for one deposit money into and called for an active leadership that would move the system, which was already in place.
The main challenges that were hindering the progress of the Act were funding, understaffing, shelter and a competent board to manage the secretariat.
Mrs Afua Addotey, Domestic Violence Management Board Member said, it was urgent for the public to know the content of the law and the Act to report perpetrators accordingly and not shield them.
Superintendent Adolphine Dzansi, in-charge of Prosecutions at the Domestic Violence and Victim’s Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, appealed to the Government to make available more clinical psychologists for domestic violence victims as the Unit had only one in the country.
The Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection should support victims with medical forms endorsed to enable prosecution get evidence to buttress their cases in court.
Ms Jocelyn Tetteh, Member of Parliament for North Dayi said, DV issues were not raised on the floor of Parliament and pledged her commitment to table questions for the Ministry of Gender to be invited to answer its failure to allot enough money for the fight.
Also present was Mr Andrew Barnes, the Australian High Commissioner.