The Ghana Police Service (GPS) has put up a three-storey building at the national Police Headquarters in Accra for use by its Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) to provide comprehensive support to survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).
GBV refers to harmful acts against individuals based on their gender, which is rooted in gender inequality, in which case women (that is to say females) are mostly the victims.
Stopping at the dictionary definition of GBV, one may wonder exactly the categories of people to be deemed victims who qualify for the DOVVSU services.
However, close analysis of the services gives a clear picture of others who equally qualify and these are victims of domestic violence,which is violent or aggressive behaviour within the home, typically against spouses and children.
The DOVVSU facility has a police station, juvenile and circuit courts, a clinic, a shelter to offer child-friendly legal services and general legal aid to reduce victimisation among survivors of GBV, investigations, social welfare services, clinical and psychological services and counselling.
Both gender-based and domestic violence cases affect mostly females in particular and children in general and that is where the problem lies.
The survival or the continuous existence of any society largely depends on females and children.
Adult females, otherwise described as women, have the physiological make-up ready to carry children and children replace their progenitors for life to go on.
This means any society that does not take the welfare and wellbeing of its females and children seriously jeopardises its own future.
To this end, the GPS deserves commendation for efforts to help victims of GBV have some relief and solace.
The GPS has expressed the hope that the DOVVSU would enhance GBV survivors’ access to justice, psycho-social and legal services to help reduce the rate of GBV in the country.
In a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of the facility in Accra Tuesday, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, among other issues, reiterated the government’s commitment to the security of women and children for nation building, explaining that the country had therefore ratified some international treaties on GBV and subsequently incorporated them into the country’s laws to ensure survivors’ protection.
If so, then all manner of violence against women and girls must be deemed criminal and no room given to any aspect of it to be treated just as a human rights issue.
That way, even families who try to cover up cases of abuse must be held culpable.
This is important because some of the violent acts leave the victims permanently maimed and economically unproductive and subsequently suffer further abuse from their benefactors.
No amount of compensation can cure this predicament and so the government should stick to its commitment to give women and children some assurance of safety at home, school, workplace, service centres like the hospitals and in all public places.
It is good that the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, was represented at the inauguration.
That representation is deemed to be for the entirety of the country’s judiciary and what was said on his behalf as the position of the third arm of government.
The Ghanaian Times wishes to appeal to the powers that be in the judiciary to expedite action to establish the specialised courts and orientate the judges presiding over cases there to promptly dispose of cases in order not to deny any GBV victim timely justice.
If the effects of GBV and domestic violence are a drain on the economy and a devastation on the victims, then it is incumbent on all stakeholders to play their respective roles in ensuring that women and children get the benefits of whatever would make life a bit convenient for them.
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