Judges, magistrates and prosecutors have been urged to familiarise themselves with sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) laws, so that they can apply the appropriate sanctions to perpetrators in the cause of justice delivery.
Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Madam Dela Sowah, who made the call, stated explained that it was necessary for actors within the justice delivery system to acquaint themselves with the changing trend in sexual and gender-based violence issues and be able to apply the laws effectively.
Ms. Sowah stated this when she opened a two-day stakeholders dialogue in Tamale for selected personnel from the Judicial Service, the Ghana Police service and the Department of Gender.
The dialogue sponsored by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) was facilitated by Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa, a high court judge, and Angela Dwamena Aboagye, also a legal practitioner and gender advocate.
It was aimed at deepening the understanding of the participants in causes, dynamics ad impacts of sexual and gender based violence, including domestic violence and the international and national frameworks governing SGBV.
The meeting was also to enable the participants, including judges, state attorneys and police prosecutors drawn from the Upper East, Upper West and Norther Region (the three northern regions), to understand the need to provide appropriate justice responses to survivours of sexual and gender-based violence.
Madam Sowah, also MP for South Dayi, in the Volta Region, said Ghana continued to experience high rates of gender-based violence, hence actors and important stakeholders were being rallied to address the concern.
The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Police Service, she added, recorded 15,774 SGBV in 2015 out of which 4,500 were assault on women; 316 were rape and defilement accounted for 1,180.
Madam Sowah regretted that out of the 1,291 sexual and gender-based violence cases sent to court, only 139 people were convicted while 10,945 cases remained under investigation.
The deputy gender minister said there was the need for sexual and gender-based violence victims to be supported through post trauma counselling, citing the recent leaked sexual tapes and videos of young ladies in Tamale, which had made the victims to flee the area.
Northern Regional Director of the Department of Gender, I.P.S. Zakari-Saa on his part said the dialogue aimed at addressing the issue of gender and sexual-based violence.
From Yakubu Abdul-Majeed, Tamale