DOVVSU strengthening systems to protect victims of gender-based violence

Violence Women
Violence Women

The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service has been strengthening its structures to protect victims of gender-based violence, an official stated on Tuesday.

Owusuwaa Kyeremeh, Director of DOVVSU, stated this during the launch of a qualitative research report on the experience of sexual debut among young people in Ghana.

The report titled “Young People’s Experiences of First Sex in Ashanti and Northern Regions, Ghana” was produced by the Ghana Statistical Service with support from various development partners.

Kyeremeh, an Assistant Commissioner of Police, disclosed that DOVVSU has established a one-stop center with a wide range of support services to enhance the process of evidence collection in cases of gender-based violence in a safe and conducive environment to engender confidence in victims to come forward to file reports of violence.

“We have a circuit and a juvenile court at the center that try cases after evidence collection. We also have a clinical psychologist, social welfare, a police station, and a clinic,” the official disclosed.

She added that there is a resident medical doctor at the clinic to take evidence from and issue medical reports for victims of gender violence who do not have the resources to pay the mandatory 200 Ghana cedis charged at public hospitals for the doctors’ reports.

Also, Kyeremeh said the center is equipped with sound-proof interview rooms where the voices of victims are ringfenced so outsiders would not be listening in.

The center has also put up the structure for a laboratory, and we are installing the laboratory facilities so the clinic can carry out blood sample tests on victims and suspects, said the director.

She added that the center is also in the process of establishing a sexual assault forensic laboratory to provide and manage crime scene evidence collected and carry out DNA examinations.

“As we complete the center in Accra, the capital, we intend to replicate similar facilities in all police regions in the country,” she pledged.

“So, we are taking the right steps to build the system, and it is just that it all comes back to funding,” she added, expressing gratitude to the United Nations Children’s Fund and Plan International Ghana, among other development partners, for supporting the development process.

Meanwhile, the report indicated, without figures, that coercion played a significant role in the first-sex experience of a significant number of female respondents.

“A significant proportion of youth had highly coercive sexual debut experiences. Coercion is a very gendered experience. All those who experienced high coercion were female,” the report stated.

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