Cases of Gender-based Violence and other forms domestic violence should be reported to human rights institutions and not be resolved at the family and community level.
Inspector Beatrice Azekaroa, Second In-charge at the Upper East Regional office of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, said such abuses were criminal offenses and should be reported to the unit for action to ensure justice.
She said causes of violence such as lack of maintenance, defilement, rape, forced marriage and assault among others were second degree felonies which when one was convicted could serve a prison term of 15 to 25 years.
She admonished the public and traditional leaders to desist from settling and trying to resolve such cases at home or at the community level.
Inspector Azekaroa gave the admonishment at separate community engagements organised by the Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM), a Non-Governmental Organisation in partnership with Plan International as part of the implementation of the Women’s Voice and Leadership (WVL).
The three-year project was being implemented in 10 communities in Bolgatanga East and Nabdam districts with funding from the Global Affairs Canada, to empower women and institutions to fight gender-based violence and help survivors have access to enhanced justice.
Inspector Azekaroa noted that lack of maintenance, rape and defilement were the major cases being reported to the office for resolution and urged survivors and their families to support the institutions such as DOVVSU and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) to ensure perpetrators faced the law to serve as deterrent to others
Inspector Azekaroa who appealed to stakeholders and opinion leaders in the communities including Chiefs, Queenmothers and Assembly members among others to join the fight against the canker, took participants through the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, Act 732 and its implications when one was in breach of it.
She also appealed to parents to develop effective communication channels to enable their adolescent children especially the girls to always confide in them.
Ms Agnes Bayimahime, the Project Officer of WVL, WOM, explained that the project sought to empower women to join in the fight against violence in their homes and communities and create enabling environment for survivors of the gender-based violence to seek redress.
She appealed to the government to decentralise human rights institutions such as DOVVSU and CHRAJ to the districts so that victims of abuse could conveniently report cases and access justice.