Anne Claire Dufay, the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Ghana, has appealed to the Ghana Health Service (GHS) to discontinue charging, especially the poor who access public health facilities for examinations on domestic violence and abuse on them.
That way, Anne Dufay said, it would encourage more women and children who are domestically abused in the country to report persons who fall foul to the police.
The UNICEF Representative made the appeal to the GHS at the Ashaiman District Police Command, where she, with the Deputy Director-General of CID, Director of DOVVSU and Representative of Global Affairs, Canada, commissioned an interview room for women and children.
Anne Claire Dufay observed that Ghana records 15,000 domestic violence and abuse cases annually, and the hardest-hit areas are in rural Ghana. Out of this number, girls are the worst victims.
To encourage the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service to gather more information to arrest persons engaged in such criminal acts, Anne Claire Dufay said her outfit needed to support the beneficiary with the interview room.
She said: “The interview room will create a safe place for the interviewees against domestic violence whose confidentiality has to be protected for the delivery of justice for them.”
On his part, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Frederick Adjei, who is the Deputy Director-General of CID, observed that the level of domestic violence and abuse in Ghana was alarming, arguing that traditions and customs were exacerbating the cases.
Traditions and customs of some Ghanaian ethnic groups deter victims and their families from opening up abuses on them to people in authority to take criminal actions against the perpetrators who continue to take advantage of some of the weird traditions and customs to abuse women and children.
ACP Adjei said, in 2020, DOVVSU recorded 1,047 reported cases of violence and abuse against women and children.
“Reported cases of defilement were 305, and for the Ghana Police Service, we believe the cases were more than that. So, to enable us to get to the root causes of these abuses and take steps to ensure justice for the victims, this facility has come well,” he explained.
Chief Inspector Owusua Akyere, Director of DOVVSU, earlier in her welcome address, expressed huge appreciation to UNICEF, the Australia High Commission, CHAG, WAPCAS, Global Affairs Canada and Pearl Safe Haven -their development partners- for the facility.
She encouraged victims of domestic abuse to be confident to report their perpetrators to the police, who has the expertise to fight crime against humanity.
Two District Police Commands that also benefited from the well-furnished room are Madina and Kasoa, the latter in the Central Region.