Report cases of abuse in schools - DOVVSU Coordinator urges students

BY: Haruna Yussif Wunpini
Superintendent Florence Anaman (left) addressing students of the Oyoko Methodist Senior High School last Friday
Superintendent Florence Anaman (left) addressing students of the Oyoko Methodist Senior High School last Friday

The Eastern Regional Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Florence Anaman, has advised victims of domestic violence, especially students in the basic and senior high schools, to report all forms of abuse to her outfit for redress.

She said most often, victims failed to report such issues due to societal norms and threats.

Superintendent Anaman gave the advice when she addressed students of various basic and senior high schools on mentorship at Oyoko Methodist Senior High School (OMESS) near Koforidua in the New Juaben North Municipality of the Eastern Region last Friday.

The programme, a mentorship and girls empowerment summit, was organised by the Eastern Regional Secretariat of the Department of Gender, Children and Social Protection.

It was aimed at sensitising girls between the ages of 12 and 18 to gender-based violence, child marriage and teenage pregnancy, children rights and safety and making career choices, among others.

Reporting abuse

Superintendent Anaman indicated that most often victims of domestic violence or all forms of abuse were not reported to DOVVSU for fear that the perpetrators, particularly men, would be prosecuted or jailed.

She explained that it was not so because prosecuting or jailing the wrongdoers who were members of the family would aggravate the matter.

The DOVVSU Regional Coordinator said the unit rather invited the perpetrators to solve the issues through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to bring peace and harmony in the affected family.

Don't be afraid

"We do not put fear in the wrongdoers and that is why we do not even wear police uniforms when discharging our duties because we want them to feel at home and tell us all their problems.

"When you come to us tell us what exactly you want us to do for you, because we are always there for you, do not be afraid", she stated.

On teenage pregnancy, Superintendent Anaman urged the students not to be involved in sexual activities because they were not matured but rather be serious with their studies to climb the academic ladder and be responsible adults before engaging in sex.

The acting Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Gender, Mrs Juliana Abbeyquaye, for her part, expressed regret that most often teenage girls, who were impregnated, were forced to stay with the men who impregnated them resulting in marriage which had adverse effects on the girls.

Plans for action

The Principal Investigator of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Mr Shadarack Majisi, took the students through six steps of prevention of violence against school girls.

These, he said, were making schools safe for girls through national plans of action to address school-related violence against girls, responding to incidence of violence against girls through confidential and independent reporting mechanisms, providing support for girls who had suffered violence including counselling, medical treatment and HIV/AIDS information.

The rest are corporal punishment, verbal abuse and enforcing appropriate laws.