It Is Unfair To Settle Sexual Abuse Cases Domestically – Queens

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Queen Mothers Jpeg
Queen Mothers Jpeg

Nana Yamfoah Amua-Sekyi, Director, Public Education, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has cautioned Queen Mothers to desist from helping to solve domestic and sexual harassments and abuses at home.

Such cases, she said were criminal in nature and had to be reported only to appropriate authorities especially the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, and not to be settled among family members or opinion leaders.

She gave the caution at an engagement organised by Inerela+ Ghana, a nongovernmental organisation with Queen Mothers within the Ayawaso Central, North and East constituencies in Accra.

Mrs Amua-Sekyi said no compensation in such cases was to be accepted, bearing in mind the need to allow a Court of competent jurisdiction to serve justice.

She said treating such cases lightly had much psychological effects on the victims and made them feel as if they were reduced to nothing or without dignity.

The Director said domestic violence often occurred in relationships where both partners stayed together without being married, where the two but did not stay together and among married couples living together.

She introduced participants to the various forms of abuse including physical (physical attack and infliction of pain), sexual (sexual harassment, defilement or rape) and economic abuse (where a partner ceased the other from engaging in a business of his or her choice or controlled his or purse without an approval).

“When you report to the Police, please leave them to work on the cases, don’t interfere. And don’t take any compensation to set the perpetrator free. Think about the victim and seek justice for him or her. This will deter culprits from making other vulnerable people fall prey to their criminal acts,” she advised.

Mrs Amua-Sekyi told participants that the law protected spouses who were being forced out of rented apartments because their spouses whom they had grudges with had vacated the apartments already even when the advance payment was not due.

Mrs Paulina L. Essel, Deputy Chief Investigator and License Counselor, CHRAJ, advised the Queen Mothers, who served as intermediaries between families, the Police and perpetrators, to desist from judging victims of defilement or rape whenever such cases were brought before them.

She also cautioned fathers to refrain from subjecting their children to verbal or physical abuses as a result of having had a conflict with their wives who are the mothers of the children.

Mrs Linda Asante Agyei, the Vice President, Ghana Journalists Association, asked the Queen Mothers to establish a cordial relationship with DOVVSU  and Social Welfare officials within their communities to enable them to work smoothly and quickly to support victims.

“You can even invite them to your programmes to witness your engagements with members in your communities. That will make it easier for them to understand your issues and support your interventions,” she said.

Mrs Mercy Acquah-Hayford, the Country Coordinator of Inerela+ Ghana, directed the Queen Mothers to assist victims of such abuses to report the cases to DOVVSU, and the Department of Social Welfare for intervention and not to traditional cancels to prevent the cases from being given insignificant attention.

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency, Mrs Acquah-Hayford explained that the engagement was a follow up of a previous meeting with the community leadership to find a lasting solution to the high rate domestic violence in the community.

It was also to encourage and empower the women to report abuse cases to the Police.

Victims of abuse were discouraged and frightened from reporting cases of domestic and sexual violence to the Police due to reverence given to their men, somehow due to suppression.

Inerela+ Ghana is a non-governmental organisation that works with a network of religious leaders living with HIV that empowers themselves and others to live positively and openly as agents of hope and change in and beyond their faith communities.

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