17,655 Domestic violence cases reported to DOVVSU in 2014

BY: Emelia Ennin Abbey

At least 17,655 cases were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service in 2014.

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Non-maintenance topped the list with 6,158 cases while wife battery and assault followed with 5,212 cases. 

The unit also received 1,667 cases of threat, 1,111 cases of defilement and 290 rape cases.

The data represented only reported cases.


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Cases alarming 

The Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr John Alexander Ackon, made this known at the launching of a training manual on gender-based violence, reproductive health and rights to be used in police training schools.

The development of the manual was sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and spearheaded by the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU).

The manual is to serve as a tool for capacity building on preventing and addressing sexual and gender-based violence and its ramifications on health,legal, justice and community responses.

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Mr Ackon described the rate of gender-based violence as alarming.

The consequences of domestic violence, he said, “could be dire. Injury, death and broken homes could all result from violence in the home.”

Domestic violence could lead to loss of opportunity, isolation from family and friends, loss of income or work and homelessness.

On the other hand, domestic violence could also result in emotional and psychological effects such as anxiety, depression or lowered sense of self-worth, poor health and physical injury or impairment.

For women, Mr Ackon observed that the consequences of domestic violence were even greater.

He said “according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), women are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, mental challenges, eating problems and sexual dysfunction as a result of violence".

To provide guidance for the management of domestic violence issues, Mr Ackon said the ministry was spearheading the development of a domestic violence regulation.

“The approach to ending gender-based violence is not just preventive but being able to handle cases when they occur. That is why the development of this training manual is very timely. I trust that the police training colleges will make use of it constructively.”

The manual

The Deputy Representative of the UNFPA, Ms Dennia Gayle, stated that violence against women and girls constituted one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world.

“Our collaboration with the Ghana Police Service in the production of this training manual is firmly rooted in our conviction of the key role that the service plays in preventing gender-based violence and in working sensitively with survivors,” she said.

For the use of the manual to be effective, she said, there must be a clear understanding and a mechanism involving the police, health entities, local government, traditional authorities, the community and other stakeholders.

Benefit 

The acting Coordinating Director of DOVVSU, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Habiba Twumasi Sarpong, in a speech read on her behalf, said a number of police personnel as law enforcement agents were also not trained on the issues raised in the manual.

“This manual will enable them to handle gender-based violence cases in a more realistic manner,” she said.

Giving highlights of the 121-page manual, Mr Frank Bodza, one of the drafters of the manual, said it would help trainees  to have a better understanding of gender-based violence-related issues.