State actors must collaborate with stakeholders to fight domestic violence 

By Priscilla Oye Ofori

Accra, July 11, GNA — Madam She Vera Anzagira, Greater Accra, Volta and Oti Regional Programme Manager, ActionAid Ghana, has asked state actors to work together with stakeholders to fight domestic violence in communities. 

She urged them to work with stakeholders, including the Community-Based Anti-violence Teams (COMBATs) and Paralegals just like the Child Protection Committees to ensure effectiveness.  

Madam Anzagira made the call at the Feedback Session of the Transformative Action for Gender Equality (TAGE) project organised by ActionAid Ghana in Accra.  

TAGE is a 30-month project aimed at empowering women and girls, mostly at risk from Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to know their rights, recognise and understand all forms of domestic violence.  

It is also to seek protection and for them to defend themselves within their communities through the effective implementation of relevant laws, policies and legal mechanisms which provide protection against violence. 

The project is implemented by ActionAid Ghana in partnership with International Federation of Women Lawyers, Ghana (FIDA-Ghana) with funding from the European Commission in 64 communities in Northern Region (Nanumba North and Sagnarigu), Upper East (Binduri and Pusiga), Volta (Ho and Adaklu) and Greater Accra (Ga West and Ga South).  

Madam Anzagira said it was important to continuously engage with community members during gatherings such as naming ceremonies for the realisation of transformed actions.  

She said women and girls must be engaged in community decision making processes. 

The Programme Manager urged stakeholders to own the outcomes of the project and ensure peaceful and enabling environment for women and the communities.  

Madam Anzagira said through the project, there was a reduced number of GBV and intimate partner violence cases recorded at the community level monthly, from four cases to one or none in a month. 

She said women and girls, especially Persons with Disabilities, also showed improved knowledge of their rights and felt safe, respected, and valued in their communities. 

The Programme Manager said challenges of the project included the unwillingness of community members to speak up when abused, stigmatisation despite constant awareness creation and education as well as lingering cases of child neglect at the community level. 

Madam Agnes Awuni, an Investigator, Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), Weija, charged parents to be good role models to their children.  

She said children practiced what they saw and heard from their parents, which could negatively impact their lives.  

Madam Awuni encouraged men to report cases of domestic violence to DOVVSU for redress. 

Mrs Jemima N. Marfo, Adolescent Health Coordinator-Ga West, urged men to be involved in the activities of women to support them.  

She appealed for funds from Non-Governmental Organisations to enable health officials have community to community dialogues and sensitisation.  

Madam Darfline Nartey, Acting Municipal Director, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ga West, advised the citizenry to report criminal cases such as domestic violence to her outfit for support.  

She said that would inform and allow CHRAJ to carry out its mandate of education and sensitisation  to meet the needs of communities.  

Madam Mercy Ansong-Boateng, Director, Social Welfare, Ga South, bemoaned the lack of cooperation from complainants in issues of domestic violence.  

She said interference from families and traditional leaders undermined their work as well.  

Madam Mary Koomson, Head, Guidance and Counselling, Ghana Education Service, Ga South, advised parents to be observant and listen to their children’s complaints.  

She said lack of shelter for victims made dealing with issues of domestic violence and GBV difficult.