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Politics of Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Source: GNA

Coalition calls for the enactment of Legislative Instrument

The Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana (DV Coalition) on Tuesday said, drafting of the Legislative Instrument (LI) for the effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act 2007 (Act 732) should be fast-tracked in order for it to be enacted by Parliament.

It called on government to make special monetary allocation to the Ministry for Women and Children’s Affairs and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), to step up public education on the prevention of domestic violence and provisions in the Domestic Violence 2007 (Act 732).

In addition, the Ghana Police Service should take immediate steps to ensure that all reported cases on domestic violence were dealt with promptly and professionally.

Also, victims were never asked to produce perpetrators, pay for services, or compelled to ‘settle’ with perpetrators or their families.

It said community structures such as Community Based Anti-Violence Teams that had been piloted by CSOs, be adopted by government agencies to complement the work of State agencies such as DOVVSU.

These were contained in a statement issued by Mr. Adolf Awuku Bekoe, National Coordinator Domestic Violence Coalition in Accra.

The Coalition expressed concern about recent reports of partner killings and added "These gruesome murders are senseless and must arouse the indignation of all".

The statement commended Ghanaians for their condemnation of these dastardly acts and appealed to the media to guard discussions that follow, so that they do not degenerate into victim-blaming or mere sensationalising.

It commended the Police Administration for nipping some of these potential killings in the bud.

The statement said although DOVVSU is poorly resourced, they did their best to respond to cases of domestic violence but expressed dissatisfaction at the performance of some officers in Unit.

The statement alleged that, there were cases of officers downplaying cases of threats of death and asking victims to send invitation letters to the very people who had threatened to kill them.

The Coalition said it was not happy with the state’s seeming lack of commitment to the protection of women and children and appealed to the government to prioritise the concerns of women and children regarding their safety.

It said the paltry budgetary allocation to MOWAC and DOVVSU reflected the level of seriousness governments attached to safety in the domestic setting.

The statement noted that since the passage of the Domestic Violence Act 2007 (Act 732), it was the Dutch government that had contributed substantially to the implementation of the Act.

It said this was disappointing and that it cannot accept the situation where a foreign country appeared to be more concerned about the protection of Ghanaians, “while our own government adopts a pedestrian approach to the protection of its citizens in the domestic setting."**