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General News of Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Source: GNA

Deputy UK Minister praises Ghana

Accra, Feb 19, GNA - Ms Gillian Merron, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State of the United Kingdom on Tuesday commended Ghana for enacting a legislation on Domestic Violence. She said "it is good to know that there is legislation in Ghana relating to domestic violence, because all over the world issues of domestic violence exist, and women and children were often the worst victims", when she paid a familiarization visit to the Domestic Violence Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service as part of activities marking her visit to Ghana. The visit to Ghana is her first African visit since her appointment to that position.

Ms Merron expressed satisfaction with the level of democracy, good governance and the rule of law, which she said, was clearly demonstrated through the establishment of units such as DOVVSU. "We need to be talking about issues such as this and this is where the role of the press comes into play, so that with time such issues would be eliminated from all societies," Ms Merron said. Welcoming Ms Merron and other staff members from the DFID office in Accra, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Beatrice Vib-Sanziri, Coordinating Director; DOVVSU said the Unit started in Accra in 1998 as the Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) to address the issues of violence against women and juveniles, which were often not handled well by the traditional units.

"But with time, it was realized that there were some men who also faced domestic violence hence the change of name to DOVVSU," she said. ACP Vib-Sanziri said so far 75 offices and desks have been opened across the country with the hope that additional offices and desks would be opened across the 300 police districts as soon as possible.

She said all police posted to the unit had been given special training in handling of cases related to domestic violence, and there were clinical psychologist and personnel from the Department of Social Welfare attached to some of the units. "There has been a lot of support from Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO), UN agencies and the donor communities," ACP Vib-Sanziri said. 19 Feb 2008

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