The Western Regional Office of Domestic Violence and Victims SupportUnit (DOVVSU), has argued for the establishment of more domestic violence courts to provide justice to the vulnerable.
This effort, it believed, would also ensure speedy trial of cases.
The Western Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU, Superintendent SetinaAboagye, who made the request, complained that lack of office space was hindering investigations and confidentiality between DOVVSU and victims.
She was speaking on domestic violence at a media meeting for the campaign for youth-oriented and gender-sensitive topics atSekondi on Thursday, in line with the implementation of the Twin Cities in Sustainable Partnership Project (TCSPP) to solicit and share information from stakeholders.
She noted “Indeed, government has opened domestic violence courts, but, we have few of such courts in Ghana. So, we are pleading that more of such courts can be opened for us to send those cases where the victims will feel comfortable and also ensure confidentiality.”
Supt. Aboagye also appealed to district assemblies to assist the unit in the provision of offices for the smooth running and administration of DOVVSU, revealing that “we started building some structures, but, it has come to a standstill.”
“At our office, we have about five or four investigators sitting at one place. So, how can we ensure confidentiality? How can people feel so good to come and narrate their stories to anybody in an open office?”
Violence in all forms, the DOVVSU Coordinator showed participants, had negative consequences on the victim and also hampered the development of society and promoted poverty, in the long term.
Domestic violence, Supt. Aboagye explained, was defined as any act of violence that was likely to cause pains to the body to affect someone psychologically or sexually.
Again, she told participants that, domestic violence could only happen between people who had special relationship like married couples, those who are just in relationship, maybe boyfriend-girlfriend relationship, those with broken marriages, teacher-parent, teacher-students relationship or parent-children relationship.
“The form of physical violence is inflicting bodily pains to the victim, and we also have the psychological or emotional violence, which affects the mind of the person. And this violence is very dangerous because sometimes you cannot see with your naked eyes, but you know, sometimes when people are narrating the story, we don’t want to believe these people,” she added.
Supt. Aboagye, however, added that, the underlying wave was in the sexual activity which was not about rape alone, saying “but, we have other forms of sexual violence or any sexual activity with any person without the consent of that person.”
Touching on the statistics, the Coordinator said that, from January to May this year, DOVVSU recorded 263 cases out of which assaults alone had 79 cases, defilement, 25, rape, two, offensive conduct, 44, threat of death, 10, threat of harm, 28, and causing damage, 17 cases, while failing to supply necessities of life was 24.
She advocated collaboration between DOVVSU and other partners like the Department of Social Welfare, Ghana Education Service (GES), the district assemblies and Regional Security Council(REGSEC), to provide security for the general public, especially the vulnerable.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, SEKONDI