Plan Ghana unhappy over delays of domestic violence cases in courts

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi

Plan Ghana, an international non-governmental organisation (NGO) says the slow pace in the adjudication of cases of abuse against women and girls in the country's courts encourages abusers to perpertuate cruel crimes against women and girls.

According to the Child Protection and Advocacy Specialist of Plan Ghana, Mr Abubakari Adamu, there are over 1,300 domestic violence cases pending before courts in the country.

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He said the delays in giving justice to victims of domestic violence does not encourage people to report cases of abuse.

"It is very frustrating because we are urging people to report cases of abuse but when they report, they don't see justice," he said.

16 days activism


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Mr Adamu said this at a media briefing in Accra last Wednesday to mark this year's United Nation’s 16 days of activism against gender violence as part of efforts to push for action against those who perpetuate abuse against women.

The 16 days of activism is an international campaign which takes place each year and runs from November 25 to December 10.

Widely known as the ‘16 Days Campaign’, it is used as an organising strategy by individuals and organisations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

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Justice system

Mr Adamu said although he would not blame the police or the courts entirely for the delays, the courts the police could expedite things, saying some of the victims report cases late, hence making prosecution to delay due to lack of evidence.

The Country Director of Plan Ghana, Mr Solomon Tesfermariam, said because many perpetrators of domestic violence are not punished, women and girls continued to be abused in the country.

He expressed worry that many women and girls who are abused in the country do not get justice.

"Many women and girls who suffered sexual abuse and other forms of abuse are not getting justice as the legal system does not adversely protect them," Mr Tesfermariam said.

He added "Many of the perpetrators of these forms of cruel crime against women and girls are walking freely among us."

Abuses

He said despite the United Nation's adoption of the Convention on the Elimination of of all forms of discrimination against women by the UN General Assembly in 1979, violence against women and girls remains a pervasive problem worldwide.

"As of today, one in three women and girls experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime, most frequently by intimate partners," Mr Tesfermariam.

He said issues of rape, defilenement, physical assault, and child marriage among others, all constitute violence against women and girls.

He said 71 per cent of all human trafficking victims worldwide are women and girls, pointing out that three out of four of these women and girls are sexually exploited.

Mr Tesfermariam said the Girls Advocacy Alliance of Plan International Ghana and Ghana NGO coalition expect the government to ensure that those who inflict violence against women and girls prosecuted to serve as deterrent to others.

He also urged the media to sensitive the public and create awareness, educate and mobilise support to influence change in behaviour and practice which affect the development and rights of women and girls in the country.

Plan

Plan International has been working in Ghana to support children, particularly the most marginalised, to exercise their rights for over 25 years.

The NGO works in more than 637 communities, majority of which are rural communities.