UNICEF Ghana, has donated personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, as part efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The items, which comprise of 37,500 non-medical facemasks, 25 gun contactless thermometers, 75,000 gloves and 750 bottles of hand sanitizers, would enable all DOVVSU staff (especially investigators) to protect themselves and continue providing critical protection services to women and children.
Madam Anne-Claire Dufay, UNICEF Ghana Country Representative, presented the items to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) George Tweneboah, the Deputy Director-General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service, in Accra.
UNICEF Ghana, which is stepping up donations of health and hygiene items to state institutions, has already made similar donations to the Births and Death Registry and the Judicial Service.
In addition, the UN Agency, has previously supported the Ghana Health Service with 10 oxygen concentrators and medical accessories to support the national COVID-19 response effort.
As part of the UN coordinated response to COVID-19, UNICEF is contributing to curb the spread of the pandemic and mitigate collateral impacts for children, women and vulnerable families, including the risks of essential social services being disrupted.
Madam Dufay lauded the Government for all its efforts in seeking to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
She noted that as part of the UN country team in Ghana, with the World Health Organisation and other UN agencies, UNICEF had been pleased to support the response.
She maintained that during this COVID-19 crisis, evidence was revealing how important it was for institutions such as DOVVSU to remain fully functioning.
“Globally, we have seen a sad trend of increase in the rate of violence against women and girls since the outbreak of COVID-19,” Madam Dufay stated.
“This is due to a variety of factors, including social isolation, school closures, as well as economic and other social stressors.”
She recounted that recently, during the UN country team’s discussions with civil society, it was revealed that the risk and rate of violence and abuse against women and children also seems to increase in Ghana.
“We therefore, commend the Police, DOVVSU and other government agencies for their valiant work in protecting women, boys, girls and men from all forms of domestic abuse, always,” Madam Dufay remarked.
“We would also like to congratulate DOVVSU for initiating and activating a hotline service to enable survivors of violence to receive the support need.”
She said even in the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF remains committed to ensuring that children and women who suffer abuse were given the necessary support and care.
Madam Dufay urged DOVVSU – and by extension the Ghana Police Service – to monitor data collection from all the regions to enable them assess the situation of women and girls to inform mitigation measures.
Adding that this would allow for a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on violence against women and girls and ultimately to inform the programme interventions and policy reforms.
She said a collective effort was also required – from the Government, civil society organisations, traditional and faith-based groups, to address gender-based violence.
“It is also extremely important to protect people with disabilities, who are particularly vulnerable. If you have not done so yet, please join the ‘Ghanaians Against Child Abuse’ movement.”
Madam Dufay said UNICEF would continue to support DOVVSU in its ongoing efforts to protect women and children from all forms of violence and abuse during this COVID-19 pandemic; declaring that “let’s all prevent violence, let’s all protect children, girls and women”.
Receiving the items, ACP Tweneboah, expressed gratitude to UNICEF for the donation; adding that DOVVSU would put the items to good use.
The partnership between DOVVSU and UNICEF, he said would go a long way to help to restore public confidence in the work of the Police.
He also appealed to other organisations to emulate UNICEF’s kind gesture.