The government has been urged to, as a matter of urgency, resource the Domestic Violence (DV) Secretariat and its management board to work effectively to address cases of domestic violence in the country.
The institutions, established after the passage of the Domestic Violence Act (Act 732) in 2007, were mandated to coordinate activities to see to the full implementation and compliance of the law to serve justice to victims of abuse.
However, at a roundtable discussion in Accra yesterday on the DV Act to mark this year’s “World Day of Social Justice”, it came to light that both bodies had failed to live up to expectations leading to incoherent efforts in managing domestic violence in the country.
The discussion organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD) in partnership with the Ark Foundation brought together various civil society groups, members of parliament, diplomats, among others, to discuss the theme, “Full implementation and compliance of domestic violence; the government, parliament and judiciary responsibilities.”
“Ever since the law was passed, the board has never worked in the area. It tries to work, it attempts to work but has never managed domestic violence in this country. At present the secretariat has only one copy of the national policy and plan of action on managing domestic violence and with the legislative instrument (L1) passed to enforce the criminal aspects of domestic violence cases, there is no copy at the secretariat.
“So if the board is not working, they will never know how far we have come with domestic violence, what we have done and what must be done next, hence the disjointed works by groups without effective coordination, monitoring and tracking,” Chief Executive Officer of the Ark Foundation, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye said.
“The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) must provide us information on the status of the fund and how institutions and individuals can contribute to it to cater for victims while Parliament uses its oversight responsibility to ensure that the DV Fund receives reasonable allocation during the reading of the budget,” she urged.
The Deputy Minister of MOGCSP, Gifty Twum-Ampofo, could not agree more on the need to strengthen efforts at protecting victims of domestic violence through the provision of shelters and skill acquisition to ensure re-integration.
She indicated that the ministry had streamlined the budget on social welfare for this year to finalise works on renovation of the only functional shelter in the country, while considering an amendment on the social protection bill to incorporate services in DV management on interventions such as the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP).
Mrs Twum-Ampofo appealed to “state and non-state actors in issues of domestic violence to collaborate and build stronger partnership as well as pull resources together to fight this menace and give justice to those whose rights have been infringed upon.”
The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrews Barnes observed that though Ghana had made strides in enacting legislations on domestic violence, a lot more needed to be done in implementation and enforcing to ensure victims received justice.
The Executive Director, CDD-Ghana, Professor Kwasi Prempeh on his part insisted Ghana could not reduce the menace of domestic violence, if the DV Act was not fully implemented to the latter.
BY ABIGAIL ANNOH