DV ACT (W&c)
Story : Zainabu Issah
THE Domestic Violence Act (DVA) was passed by Parliament on February 21, 2007 as a positive step to confront the issue of various forms of violence against women and girls, especially in the domestic setting.
The law is also meant to offer a holistic and effective legal framework for addressing domestic violence in Ghana, provide broad redress for cases of domestic violence, sanction perpetrators and provide protective remedy for victims in order to improve Ghana’s compliance with its legal obligations under international human rights standards.
It also contains provisions that criminalise various acts of violence, such as physical and sexual assault within or outside marriage and between individuals in a domestic relationship, including family and non-family members, such as house helps and people who do not physically live together. It also criminalises economic and psychological abuse, intimidation and harassment and makes provision for protection orders, psychological and rehabilitative services for victims or perpetrators and processes for promotion of reconciliation.
To step up education on the need to curb domestic violence, ActionAid Ghana, in commemorating this year’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence in Ghana, staged a play in Accra to demonstrate how violence in the home affects the lives of families, especially the children.
The play, entitled,”Down Memory Lane In The Fight Against Domestic Violence”, was also to offer an interactive platform for discussions on issues that constitute domestic violence and how to prevent and report such cases.
The Women’s Right and Policy Advisor of ActionAid Ghana, Ms Selina Owusu, stressed the need for the passage of the Legislative Instrument (LI) to operationalise and implement the DVA.
She also called on the Ministry of Women and Children’s Affairs (MOWAC) and the Attorney-General’s Department to work closely together for the passage of the instrument.
“We are not oblivious of the fact that many laws in Ghana lack the institutional framework to fully implement them because of the lack of finance and other resources. We would, therefore, like to add that when the LI is passed, adequate financial resources, as well as the needed infrastructure, should be made available for the effective implementation of the law,” she explained.
Ms Owusu made reference to the 2012 national budget and said it did not make specific allocations for the provision of the needed infrastructure as provided in the law, adding, “ We think this is an anomaly that should be corrected immediately, so that when the LI is finally passed, resources will be available for its full operationalisation.”
She called for more support from organisations to build offices of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) in the rural areas and also equip those offices with human and material resources, so that victims can easily access the offices.