A two-day knowledge sharing symposium aimed at eliminating gender based violence practices has been held in Accra.
The programme targeted at traditional and opinion leaders, non-governmental organisations and civil society groups was organised by the Obaapa Development Foundation in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
Nana Hemaa Adjoa Awindor, Executive Director of Obaapa Development Foundation speaking at the opening said, the event sought to seek the support of the traditional leaders in the implementation of policies to protect the rights of women and girls in their communities.
She said, the foundation would strategise with the various leaders towards the successful implementation of child protection policies and working plans for the communities.
The focus of the group, she explained, was women and children development through child advocacy initiatives, supports for teen mothers and rescuing of children in the streets.
“Traditional leaders are key stakeholders in their various communities who can ensure all forms of abuse against women and girls are investigated and appropriate measures taken to deal with perpetrators”, Nana Hemaa Awindor added.
Superintendent Evelyn Borbor Kuglemu, the National Coordinator for Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), said the unwillingness of victims to report cases, absence of stiffer sanctions against offenders and lack of education on the rights of the girls were major factors confronting the efforts of the DOVVSU in rooting out the problem.
She advised victims and their relatives not to deal with such cases privately or shield the suspects but report the offenders to the police for the necessary action to be taken.
Dr. Doris Mawuse Aglobitse, Programme Analyst – Communication and Resource at UNFPA Ghana, commended the efforts of traditional rulers in addressing cases involving violence’s and abuses in their areas.
She called for intensified education of girls at a younger age to know their rights and report cases of abuse and assaults.