Commit to domestic violence, sexual harassment fight now – Group to Akufo-Addo

The Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana has called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to fund domestic violence work in the country, implement the Domestic Violence Act and related legislation, and create sexual harassment policies in schools and workplaces...


The Coalition on Domestic Violence Legislation in Ghana has called on President Nana Akufo-Addo to fund domestic violence work in the country, implement the Domestic Violence Act and related legislation, and create sexual harassment policies in schools and workplaces.

This was contained in a letter by the coalition dated 12 March 2019, and addressed to President Akufo-Addo.

The group stated that: “The Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732), and its corresponding Legislative Instrument Domestic Violence Regulations, 2016 (LI 2237), are supposed to provide the framework within which survivors of domestic violence can access justice and supports, however, this framework has been ineffective on the ground because nothing has been done beyond creating the law. The Act was passed 12 years ago and successive governments have failed to ensure that the agencies and organisations tasked with the responsibility to ensure the management of Domestic violence concerns in the country are functional”.

According to the coalition, in 2016, one of its members, Martin Kpebu, sued for the activation of the Domestic Violence Fund and the provision of free medical care to victims, as stipulated in Act 732, and “the High Court (Human Rights Division-2) gave judgment granting these reliefs on 17 March 2017 and gave the government six (6) months to implement the decision”, however, till date, the Akufo-Addo government “has not complied with the court orders” two years after the judgment.

The group revealed that “the plaintiff was minded to apply for contempt but held back in hope that implementation was near. That hope has faded away.”

The coalition said Mr Akufo-Addo has indicated a commitment to gender and human rights in multiple speeches since his inauguration as president but his action on “gender policy does not reflect the commitment”, adding the government has the power to “change that right now.”

The group wants the president to “instruct the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection to convene the quarterly meetings of the Domestic Violence Management Board (DVMB) in accordance with the stipulations of the Domestic Violence Act, and to present the National Plan of Action against Domestic Violence and the key strategies to prevent and combat domestic violence as directed in the Domestic Violence Act to you for approval before the end of Quarter 2, 2019” and to also instruct “the Minister of Finance to immediately fund the Domestic Violence Fund as provided by the DV LI2237 and in compliance with the High Court order of 17 March 2017. A minimum of GHS 500 000 per year is required for this fund.”

They also requested the president to “elevate the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) to a directorate within the Ghana Police Service akin to the position of other state institutions such as the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and ensure that it has enforcement powers”, as the DOVVSU currently has investigative powers, but unlike NACOB, DOVVSU does not have specialised status and enforcement powers.

The advocates also want Mr Akufo-Addo to “instruct the Minister of Education to immediately initiate the process for the establishment of sexual harassment and misconduct policies for schools. These policies will be the first step in ensuring that the 8% of girls and 3% of boys in schools in Ghana, who experience sexual violence perpetrated by a school authority figure, can be protected by the law”.

In addition, they want “the Minister of Employment and Labour Relations to immediately initiate the process to ensure that all workplaces draw up sexual harassment and misconduct policies in accordance with Section 15 (b) of the Labor Act 2003 (Act 651). The establishment of such policies would be in line with the first resolution on sexual harassment that was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 20, 2018, to urge all member countries to act to prevent and eliminate sexual harassment”.

Source: Ghana/ClassFMonline.com/91.3FM



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