Some civil society organisations (CSOs) in Ghana have called for more data on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) to strengthen policies and programmes designed to end the problem.

The CSOs, including representatives from the Ark Foundation, Women in Law and Development Africa (WiLDAF-Ghana) the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the African Women Development Fund (AWDF), made the call at a forum in Accra.

Ark Foundation Executive Director, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye, said response to GBV, and domestic violence in Ghana could not be isolated from the frameworks that had been accepted as the approaches to addressing and responding to the phenomenon.

About 33 to 37 percent of women in Ghana have experienced intimate partner violence in the course of their relationship, according to 2016 BMC Public Health report.

In Ghanaian schools, studies found that 14 percent of girls are victims of sexual abuse and 52 percent have experienced GBV.

In its response to the menace, the government of Ghana had established the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) in 2006 to investigate all female and children related offences.

DOVVSU is a department within the Ghana police service established to protect the rights and promote the welfare of women and children by preventing and prosecuting crimes committed against them.

But Dwamena-Aboagye said response should be integrated, coordinated and survivor-centred and must encompass all relevant services such as crisis response, social welfare services, child services, shelters, the justice system, including police and courts.

‘There must also be an established way of monitoring and evaluating what goes on in the protection and services provision “system” ‘, she said.

Dwamena-Aboagye said the multi-dimensional nature of GBV/DV work required the application of a multiplicity of strategies.

She also said certification might become necessary for practitioners and a good referral system should be instituted at the levels of direct services provision for survivors, including the development of common transfer documents to ensure tracking of survivors.

The Ark Foundation boss urged CSOs to ‘walk the talk’ by using the limited data available to push across the barriers to secure more prosecutions against perpetrators of the menace.

Source: News Ghana

Photo source: Council on Foreign Relations

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