Women survivors of gender-based violence hardly seek justice- Report



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A book containing findings of a case study conducted on  access to justice for women in Ghana has been launched in Accra titled; “Falling Through the Cracks: Tackling the Justice Deficit for Women Survivors in Ghana.

The launch also forms part of 16 days of activism against gender-based violence which commenced on 26th November and ends on December 10, 2019- International Day for Human Rights.

The twenty-seven page book report, which is a collaborative research work by ActionAid Ghana and ActionAid UK highlights gender-based violence, particularly violence against women at the workplace,  homes and employers globally, and identifies barriers to survivors accessing justice.

The report, which focuses on four countries reveals that, 71.5 percent of Ghanaian women have suffered various forms of violence with majority of survivors yet to access justice despite the passage of the Comprehensive Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit, DOVVSU Act in 2007.

Some identified hindrances to DOVVSU’s effective dealing with some domestic violence cases were mentioned as security for the family in case of the man being imprisoned, women interest in only stopping the physical abuse against them through civil means, thereby pulling out of court in the criminal aspect and the delay in reporting defilement and rape cases due to family influence.

A gender and child rights consultant, Sheila Minkah Premo, presenting the report said though the Ghana Police Service and Judicial Service have responded well to the activism against gender based violence by setting up DOVVSU and the Gender-Based Violence Court respectively, access to violence protection order form as specified in the Ll remains the difficulty to many. She therefore called for easy accessibility  to these forms.

Madam Premo also suggested the following: that DOVVSU Fund be reactivated and funded, and made accessible to survivors, the Domestic Violence Management Board should consist of experts and have enough term of office to function properly.

A representative from the National Secretariat of DOVVSU, Superintendent Evelyn Borbor who among other things raised logistical constraints facing the department said, her outfit recorded 20 percent of gender-based violence against men in 2018, which is an increase from the 2017 figure of 18 percent.

This implies that the public is getting enlightened that gender-based violence does not only favour women.

She, therefore, encouraged men to report any form of violence against them to DOVVSU since harbouring such emotional abuses sometimes lead to some worst forms of domestic violence recorded.

The Communication Officer for Women in Law and Development in Africa, WiLDAF, Abigail Edem Hunu on her part, underscored the essence of educating men on the dos and don’ts as part of the campaign against rape, defilement and assault on women, a step which according to her WiLDAF is advancing currently.

The report, therefore, makes three major recommendations which are demanding on the government and civil society groups.

These are ; ensuring that all workers enjoy a violence-free working environment through the realisation of rights in the workplace, reduce violence against women and survivors’ access to justice through a well-resourced and sustainable Domestic Violence Fund for survivors and also, to ensure the reduction in gender-based violence against women and survivors’ access to justice through unlearning and challenging values of formal, community-based legal systems, national normalisation on perceptions of women as properties of men and the overall placement of domestic violence as a private issue.

 

Ghana | Atinkaonline.com | Edward Sebbie