Setback For Gender Violence

Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah

The Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, has stated that the Judicial Service has taken reforms to minimise the incidence of gender-based violence in our society.

He said among reforms taken are the establishment of specialised courts aimed at ensuring effective and efficient administration of justice for specific types of cases or offences.

Speaking at the inauguration of Domestic Violence and Victim’s Support Unit One Stop Centre at the Police Headquarters in Accra, Justice Jones Dotse on behalf of the Chief Justice said these reforms have led to the establishment of the first gender-based violence court which commenced operation in January 2009, with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the flagship programme on Gender Justice.

“Following its success, the Danish Government (DANIDA) assisted the Judicial Service to establish nine more gender-based violence courts in Tema, Koforidua, Ho, Cape Coast, Sekondi, Kumasi, Sunyani, Tamale and Bolgatanga.

In 2016, the Judicial Service with support from UNICEF introduced the child-friendly court concept due to gaps identified in the administration of justice for gender-based violence cases. This, he said, has now been replicated nationwide in all the regional capitals.

The Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, who represented President Akufo-Addo, in an address said the one-stop centre at the Ghana Police Headquarters in Accra, will offer survivors of gender-based violence access to comprehensive services.

He noted that, the DOVVSU one-stop centre is a state-of-the-art facility that will enhance access to justice, psycho-social services and other services for survivors of domestic violence.

“The availability of the requisite services for survivors of domestic violence is crucial in the fight against domestic violence and addressing impunity,” he added.

This one-stop centre will provide services like investigations, social welfare services, legal aid, clinical psychology, counselling and court services, hence the centre has been designed to avoid secondary victimisation.

In an address by Charles Abani, United Nations Resident Coordinator to Ghana, he thanked the Government of Denmark and commended UNICEF for their commitment and support in the establishment of ten child-friendly and gender-based violence courts in Ghana over the past months.

He said these courts and the two courts that are part of the one-stop centre, are contributing to improve access to justice for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.

The inauguration of the one-stop centre in Accra, offers survivors of gender-based violence access to comprehensive services.

Specialised teams from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit will counsel survivors and help report cases. Within the same location at the Police Headquarters, the two new juvenile court and child-friendly and gender based violence court will give girls and boys safer access to Ghana’s justice system. They will also have access to medical and psychosocial support.

By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey