DOVVSU Increases Momentum Against Gender Based Violence

The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana police service unit unveil a manual to build the capacity of personnel against gender-based violence, reproductive health and rights.

The manual which is targeted at police training schools will also enable some number of police personnel as law enforcement agents to handle gender-based violence very realistically.

The Deputy Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Mr. John Alexander Ackon said the manual will compliment the provisions of the Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) as it sharpens the skills of police personnel who handle gender based violence.

The minister lauded the initiative that gender based violence is a matter that requires tact in handling thus the need relevance of this manual to enhance the skills of DOVVSU personnel.

He mentioned that gender based violence could be dire, injury, death and leads to broken homes that often results in emotional and psychological effects like anxiety, depression, poor health, physical injury or impairment.

Mr. Ackon added that despite the fight against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) however there is the need for a more co-ordinated response to harmful traditional practices such as widowhood rites, FGM, forced marriages and witches camps.

He said government is concerned about the alarming rate of the gender based violence adding that his Ministry has started holding community dialogues on women empowerment, sexual and gender based violence and teenage pregnancy.

According to him, these dialogue sessions are meant to give voice to people at the local level to speak out their concerns on these matters.

He added that the Departments of Social Development, Gender and Children of the Ministry have interacted with over 250,000 people in about 250 communities across the country on violence against women and children.

Deputy Minister indicated that currently the Ministry is spearheading the development of a domestic violence regulation which will give guidance to managing domestic violence issues.

Chief Superintendent Mrs. Laurencia W. Akorli, who read the statement on behalf of the Acting Coordinating Director, ACP Habiba Twumasi Sarpong noted that the development of the manual has come at the right time when gender based violence is becoming rampant.

She added that the manual will go a long way to create awareness on gender based violence even within the police service as well as to the general public.

Dennia Gayle, Deputy Representative of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said over the past 10 years they have been working assiduously with DOVVSU to develop this manual.

She said despite its prevalence, gender based violence undermines the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims yet it remains shrouded in culture of silence.

Dennia Gayle noted they are confident that the experimental and participatory methodology adopted in the production of the manual will make it a training medium of choice even beyond the police service.

She indicated that to effectively address the canker, there must be a clear understanding and a mechanism involving the police, health entities, local government, traditional authorities, religious leaders and community.

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