As we end this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the theme: “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”, we remind you of some key requests of many Ghanaian citizens and groups, particularly the Domestic Violence Coalition.
Gender-based violence is a human rights violation that disproportionately affects women. According to UN Women, 1 in 4 women in Ghana experience physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence. Data for psychological violence perpetrated by an intimate partner is unavailable but believed to be even higher. These forms of violence cut across religion, ethnicity, and socio-economic status.
In 2019, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) at the University of Ghana released a report that indicates that violence against women and girls costs households in Ghana a total of approximately US $286 million annually.
The physical and mental health consequences of violence against women are enormous, and public health studies show that violence against women is not only a primary risk factor for many mental illnesses but also for several physical illnesses.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further compounded these already prevalent forms of violence. It is therefore critical for the government to strengthen preventive actions and provide the needed resources to address gender-based violence.
- Fully implement the National Plan of Action Domestic Violence National Policy & Plan of Action along with evidence-based programs and interventions to prevent and combat domestic violence.
- Fund the Victims of Domestic Violence Support Fund in accordance with the Domestic Violence Act, the Domestic Violence Legislative Instrument and the High Court order of 17th March 2017. Allocating funds to the Domestic Violence fund is also justified by the fact that in Ghana, nearly US $286 million is lost each year due to violence against women and girls alone.
- Elevate the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) to a directorate within the Ghana Police Service and ensure that it not only has investigative powers but enforcement powers as well.
- Ensure that all educational institutions in the country establish comprehensive sexual harassment and misconduct policies, and enforce them to protect students, particularly minors.
- Ensure that workplaces establish and implement sexual harassment and misconduct policies in accordance with Section 15 (b) of the Labor Act of 2003 (Act 651). The creation and implementation of such policies would be in line with the first resolution on sexual harassment adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 2018 to urge all member countries to act to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment, and also the Convention on Violence and Harassment adopted by the International Labour Organization (ILO) in June 2019.
The time to move from talking to action is now!
The writer, Nana Ama Adom-Boakye Kanyi, is a Public Health Professional, Activist & Member of the Domestic Violence Coalition
Nana Ama Adom-Boakye Kanyi | Public Health Professional, Activist & Member of the Domestic Violence Coalition
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