Victims of domestic violence must endeavour to report all forms of abuse for immediate assistance, Mrs Laariba Zuweira Abudu, the Minister designate of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), has said.
She said the increasing cases of gender-based violence was worrying as data from the 2016 Domestic Violence Survey in Ghana showed that approximately 27.7 per cent of Ghanaian women had experienced at least one form of domestic violence, either physical, economic, psychological, social, or sexual violence in their life time.
“The survey also showed that about 38.2 per cent of adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 were reported to have experienced at least one act of sexual violence,” she added.
The Minister gave the advice at the launch of this year’s activism campaign on gender-based violence in Accra yesterday.
The annual campaign, on the theme “Unite! Activism to End Violence against Women and Girls,” seeks to create awareness and reduce the number of gender-based violence in the country.
She said cases of sexual and gender-based violence were trivialised due to cultural norms, beliefs and practices that continued to put women and girls at a disadvantage in terms of their health, education and general well-being and development.
Mrs Abudu said 3,052 cases of gender-based violence were recorded by the domestic violence and victims’ support unit of the Ghana police service in 2020.
Additionally, she said the Orange Support Centre of the Ministry also recorded 1,000 cases of sexual and gender-based violence with most of them being intimate partner violence.
Mrs Abudu stated that canker of violence against women and girls transcended continents, countries, cultures, religions, races, ethnicity, and people, adding that violence against women came in various forms including “social violence, physical violence, psychological violence, economic violence, and sexual violence”.
She said as part of efforts to address the canker, the Ministry was “reviewing the Domestic Violence Act 732 (2007) and its legislative Instrument, the National Domestic Violence Policy, the Operational Plan on Ending Child Marriage and the National Gender Policy, and working relentlessly on the Affirmative Action Bill to get it passed”.
She added that the ministry had also trained over 80 market executives to serve as paralegals in eight markets centres in Greater Accra, Western and Bono East regions to assist in these issues, while steps were in place to replicate the initiative in the remaining regions.
The launch was preceded by a health walk through some principal streets of Accra where patrons bore placards such as “seek help when abused, it is free; sexual harassment entrenches gender inequalities; all hands-on deck against the fight of domestic violence and no means no”.
BY JESSEL LARTEY THERSON-COFIE