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General News of Saturday, 19 January 2013

Source: GNA

Review processing fees for domestic violence victims - DSP Agbeko

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sampson Agbeko, Brong-Ahafo Regional Commander of Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU), on Friday called for a downward review of the processing fees at the courts to encourage victims of domestic violence to pursue their cases.

He pointed out that the high fees discouraged victims of domestic violence to seek justice at the courts since most of them could not afford leaving them no option than to abandon their cases.

DSP Agbeko, who made the call in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Sunyani, suggested that the court could waive the fees to enable vulnerable victims pursued their cases and seek justice.

Available statistics at the Brong-Ahafo Regional Directorate of DOVVSU indicated that, last year 1,257 cases of abuse were recorded as against 1,034 in 2011.

The high abuse was non-maintenance, which recorded 919, assault 117, deprivation of property 35, defilement 31, threat of harm 26, and treat of death 25.

Others were fraud, abduction, causing damage, causing harm, compulsory marriage, child stealing, exposing a child to danger, missing persons, offensive conduct and unnatural carnal knowledge.

DSP Agbeko said 44 people were convicted, 131 of the cases were sent to court, 79 were awaiting trial, 82 were closed and 1,036 were under investigations.

He observed that there had been an increase of non-maintenance as a result of the rate of divorce in the Region and some parents vested their anger on the children and refused to cater for them because of the pain and anger.

DSP Agbeko said the courts especially the family tribunals must intervene to compel parents to be responsible in caring for their children to help reduce crime in the country.

He said it was the responsibility of parents for the upbringing of their children even in divorce to ensure the welfare of the children.

DSP Agbeko called on the general public, especially the youth to register their marriages to have legal backing when sharing acquired properties during divorce.

He said the Directorate was committed to reduce domestic violence in the Region by 10-15 per cent and called on the media to assist in sensitising the general public on domestic violence issues.

DSP Agbeko urged the general public and victims of domestic violence abuse not to hesitate in reporting such cases to the unit established to prevent domestic violence in the society, protect victims and prosecute perpetrators to deter others.

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