The Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DoVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service on Saturday appealed to the media to support the Police to stop the menace of Sexual Gender-based Violence (SGBV) in the country.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Setina Aboagye, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Coordinator of the DoVVSU made the appeal when she addressed the opening of a two-day media capacity building workshop organised by the Bono Regional Coordinating Council, in collaboration with the Department of Gender for selected media personnel at Abesim, near Sunyani.
It was attended by 20 reporters, drawn from mostly radio stations in the newly-created Bono East Region, and sponsored by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and facilitated by the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
It was aimed at equipping the participants with the prerequisite skills to enable them to report accurately on gender issues.
DSP Aboagye expressed worry that the menace was growing in the three regions.
She observed that most often, victims and the general public preferred to report SGBV cases to the media instead of the Police and called on the media to help expose and prosecute perpetrators to control the sexual crime.
DSP Aboagye said SGBVs was a serious crime and entreated the media not to help society to shield victims but rather inform the Police about such cases for the perpetrators to face prosecution.
She said victims of SGBV, mostly women and girls, and their families should refrain from collecting compensations and shielding perpetrators.
Though the Regional DoVSSU Coordinator could not readily provide statistics for cases of SGBVs, she said the situation was gaining disturbing proportions and required concerted and radical approach to bring it under control.
DSP Aboagye emphasised that efforts to curb SGBVs in the society would be meaningless if opinion leaders such as religious leaders, traditional authorities and Assembly Members continued to mediate and settle reported SGBVs, particularly, rape and defilement in the homes.
Mrs. Gertrude Grumah, a Communications Development Lecturer at the University of Energy and Natural Resources observed that reporting on SGBVs was very sensitive and appealed to the media to be guided by the code of ethics in order not to stigmatise and worsen traumatic condition of victims.
She said such media training was very paramount as it would enrich the knowledge content of practitioners about the menace and hoped that similar trainings would be held at regular intervals to help develop the interest of the media on reporting on issues relating to gender.
Mrs. Jocelyn Adii, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Director of the Department of Gender said the training was in line with UNFPA's seventh country programme, under Output Two: that has to do with young people and adolescent girls having skills and knowledge to claim and make informed choices about their sexual and reproductive rights and well-being, including humanitarian settings.
She called on the media to give ample space on their airwaves and in newspapers to promote gender issues to bridge the long existing gender gaps.
Mr. Larry Paa Kwesi Moses, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Chairman of the GJA, expressed appreciation to the Gender Department and its partners, and called on other institutions to help upgrade the knowledge of the media on other developmental issues to enable them to report accurately.