Handling of sexual violence cases in Bono unsatisfactory – NGO

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The Reproductive Needs and Fitness Foundation (RENEFF), a non-governmental organisation, has expressed disappointment about the Bono Regional Office of Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) handling of cases of sexual violence and abuse against girls.
It, therefore, called on the Police Administration to check the Unit by ensuring cases of sexual violence against girls in the region were prosecuted accordingly for the perpetrators to face the full rigours of the law.
The Foundation comprises a team of health workers that seek to champion the cause of good health through public education with a keen interest in reproductive health, and sexual and gender-based violence.
“In 2021, the RENEFF team through our daily routine work at the hospital facilities encountered several cases of abuse, neglect, violence and exploitation. As a reproductive health brand, the surging number of sexual and gender-based violence cases within the Sunyani Municipality and Bono Region as a whole has called for the need to be apt,” it said in a statement issued in Sunyani.
A copy of the statement jointly signed by Abigail Antwi-Baafi, Co-Founder and Executive Member, Gabriel Kwarfo, Financial Secretary and Irene Bonsing, Public Relations Officer and made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani explained the Foundation had identified several victims of sexual violence, reported and followed up, but “it seems DOVVSU is not proactive in handling such cases”.
“As a part of the interventions to curb the situation, we launched a new project dubbed beyond 16 days of activism against gender-based violence and prior to the launch, we had received complaints from victims who were dissatisfied with how the DOVVSU handled their cases after reporting,” it added.
“A 32-year-old victim narrated her ordeal to us when she reported a case of her 13-year-old girl who was constantly defiled by her partner. In her case, the man in question does have a sexual relationship with herself and her daughter at the same time.”
“Coupled with that, the man physically assaulted her to the extent of hospitalisation any time she complained and refused him sexual intercourse. She reported the case to the DOVVSU but the perpetrator is walking freely in town,” the statement indicated.
“We supported her to get a place because we realised the matter could only be taken up again if she is independent. After renting a place for her, the suspect (name withheld), insisted he will not allow a victim to move into her new apartment with her children (the 13-year-old defiled girl and a three-year-old boy), it said.
“Another case is a 13-year-old girl (name withheld) who was pregnant for eight months without the knowledge of her parents and siblings. The case was referred to us by the Ghana Education Service for assistance. She was immediately taken through the medical process and pregnancy was confirmed and antenatal started the same day after which we reported the case to the Regional DOVVSU for intervention,” the statement said.
“RENEFF aided the signing of her Police report at no cost, returned the form the following day to DOVVSU and was handed over to DOVVSU. Through the Foundation the suspect was arrested but we were later told he had escaped. And nothing had been heard about the case”, it added.
“The Foundation, on behalf of these victims, many others and their families write to respectively and humbly petition the Inspector General of Police and the National DOVVSU Coordinator to keep a close check on the DOVVSU at the Bono Regional Police Command and also look into the cases”, the statement said.
It said cases of sexual and domestic violence could be brought under control if victims had the confidence to report their cases and received justice, saying “as an NGO we can only support in our small way but the law urges stakeholders to prosecute perpetrators which we confidently trust your offices stand for”.
“Kindly come to our aid and especially that of the victims and their families. Sunyani needs a more honest and passionate team at the DOVVSU so that our collaborative efforts to bring gender-based violence cases under control can yield positive results”, the statement concluded.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Beatrice Korsah, the Head of DOVVSU in the Bono Region refused to comment on the statement when contacted by the GNA.

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