Sexual and Gender based Violence (SGBV) and Domestic Violence have negative effects on the development of countries, impacting the health of the victims and as well as dwindling their security, economic, social and psychological wellbeing.
On the backdrop of this, fifty (50) investigators drawn from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service are undergoing an intensive three-week training on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) to beef up their capacity in handling cases.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the training which is being sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is limited to the Greater Accra Region.
The fifty personal consisting of forty men and ten women from the Greater Accra and Tema Regions, would be schooled through topics such as Building and Labelling of SGBV Exhibits, Scene Management, Techniques in Investigations, Interview and Interrogation Techniques.
Speaking at the opening of the training on Monday, 3rd August 2020 at the Police Training School in Accra,
Commissioner of Police (COP) Isaac Ken Yeboah, who is the Director General of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), called on the participants to exhibit their professional skills in order to be able to handle SGBV cases especially within these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He urged the personnel to always carry themselves well in their line of duties in order to receive victims well, as many would come in a state of trauma and would therefore need to be at ease and relieved.
COP Yeboah, also charged the media to avoid publicising sensitive cases that would affect police investigations. This he said, would always aid the police to achieve better results.
Chief Superintendent Owusuaa Kyeremeh, the Director of DOVVSU, said the training, indicated that the training
would later be extended to other regions online, and about 250 personnel would benefit from it by the end of 2020.
She explained that, the training would enable the participants to build their case dockets to secure justice for victims to serve as deterrent to others.
Chief Superintendent Owusuaa Kyeremeh, however said, “Ghana has not recorded an increase in domestic violence cases during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
On her part, Dr. Agnes Nti Bamyuriwa, the Deputy Country Representative of UNFPA, noted that, sexual and Gender based Violence is a widespread and serious violation of human rights that has severe physical, psychological, emotional and social consequences.
Therefore, the goals of prosecution are to protect the victims while holding perpetrators accountable for their actions, and communicate a strong message to the community that such an abuse will not be tolerated.
Dr. Agnes, however stressed that, “prosecuting gender-based violence cases can be challenging. There are a number of evidentiary challenges, due to the private nature of the violence, the police investigation may be substandard, victims may be uncooperative, and withdraw their complaint.”
Adding that, “more often, the process of bringing a complaint into the criminal justice system can be a difficult and traumatizing experience for many victims for different reasons; Gender bias and discrimination fuel myths around such violence which shape the criminal justice response to these crimes.”
According to her, many victims never report their victimization or they have been filtered out of the criminal justice system, resulting in low charge and conviction rates.
Dr. Agnes, also explained that, “prosecution of SGBV therefore involves some level of skill sets for effective justice delivery to the victims, hence this session which aims at building the capacity of DOVVSU investigators on SGBV/DV cases for quality investigation and timely prosecution of SGBV cases.”
She said, achieving zero Sexual and Gender-Based Violence exists as a transformative goal of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). “This has been over the years , the anchor our collaboration with the Ghana Police Service through the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) in enhancing concerted efforts to preventing and managing SGBV , and achievements chalked thus far by in this regard are commendable.” She added.