A one-stop centre to provide comprehensive support for survivors of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) across the country was inaugurated in Accra on Tuesday.
The state-of-the-art facility is expected to enhance access to justice, psycho-social and legal services to survivors of GBV to reduce the spate of the menace.
The three-storey building for the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service (GPS) has within it a juvenile and circuit court, a police station, clinic and a shelter to offer child friendly, legal services to reduce victimisation among survivors of GBV.Other services including investigations, social welfare services, legal aid, clinical psychology and counselling, would also be offered at thecentre.
President Nana Addo DankwaAkufo-Addo, in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration, reiterated government’s commitment to the security of women and children for nation building.
He said government to that effect, had ratified some international treaties on gender-based violence (GBV) and subsequently incorporated them into the country’s laws to ensure survivors’ protection.
The President noted that violence against women and girls was a human rights issue borne out of unequal power dynamics that existed in the society, posing a challenge not only to the health and personal development of survivors but national development.
The negative effects of GBV, according to him, were dire, and called for a holistic approach in dealing with the menace.
”The eradication or reduction in GBV is therefore critical in nation-building and that is why SDG Goals 5 is tied to achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
It recognises that a nation cannot fully develop without protecting its women and children.
As a gender activist and a one-time chairperson of the African Union’s Committee on Gender and Development, I fully endorse the Ghana Police Service’s agenda to expand the one-stop centre to all other parts of the country,” he said.
The President pledged government’s commitment to the nationwide project and appealed to the donor community, individuals and corporate organisations to support DOVVSU in realising that.
The Chief Justice, Justice AninYeboah, also in a speech read on his behalf expressed the Judiciary’s resolve to expedite proceedings on GBV matters in the country to which, specialised courts are being established to ensure effective and efficient administration of justice on GBV.
He mentioned that in 2016, the service with the support of UNICEF introduced the child-friendly court concept to bridge gaps which were identified in the administration of justice for GBV cases.
Justice Yeboah said the addition of the DOVVSU one-stop-centre would ensure quality justice delivery to women and children who were the most vulnerable.
The Inspector General of Police, Dr George Akuffo Dampare admonished managers of the centre to be “more sensitive” to issues that would be brought there saying, “this should be a place where families broken are rather restored and united.”
He further charged them to ensure that more proactive and preventive methods were used in settling cases.