Saturday, 23 September 2017
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Relief For Domestic Violence Victims- Court Orders State To Fund Them

Relief For Domestic Violence Victims- Court Orders State To Fund Them

After 10 years of neglect by the state, victims of domestic violence are on the verge of receiving the needed support the law guarantees them.

 

A private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu, told The Finder that he will today request for a copy of the ruling delivered on Friday by a Human Rights Court in Accra ordering the government to within six months establish the Domestic Violence Support Fund passed into law in 2007.

He is hopeful of completing processes for bailiffs to serve the ruling on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice within this week.

The Human Rights Court, presided over by Mr Anthony Yeboah, also announced a six-month period within which enforcement would commence.

Lawyer Kpebu, sympathising with the plight of Victims of Domestic Violence, went to court to compel the government to operationalise the Fund.

By Section 8 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) free medical care was to be provided for domestic violence victim.

Section 29 of the Act also mentioned the establishment of a domestic Violence Support Fund.

Kpebu described the failure to set up the fund as watershed in the fight against Domestic Violence.

15,749 cases in 2015

In the year 2015, a total of 15,749 domestic violence cases were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support (DOVVSU) Unit of the Ghana Police Service.

17,655 cases in 2014

In 2014 statistics from DOVVSU showed that at least 17,655 cases were reported. It included 5,212 cases of wife battery and assault, 1,667 cases of threat, 1,111 cases of defilement and 290 rape cases.

Medical report challenges

One of the first steps taken by victims are that whenever they report at the Police station they are given medical form.

These forms are sent to the Hospitals for Doctors to fill after examination of these victims.

One major hurdle in the fight against domestic violence is the inability of victims to pay for medical expenses some as low as GH¢50 as fee for medical doctors to certify police medical forms after they have been examined medically.

Police medical forms signed by doctors are critical evidence in the successful prosecution of Domestic Violence cases.

In the absence of signed medical report, police are unable to prosecute the case.

Considering the statistics for domestic violence for 2014 and 2015, if conservative estimate of 20% of victims are unable to afford payments for doctors to fill medical reports that will be over 3,000 victims a year.

It is a fact that majority of domestic violence victims are very poor and cannot afford such payments which either ends or delays the prosecution of their cases.

Lawyer Kpebu told The Finder that the objective of section 31 of the Domestic Violence Act, 2007 (Act 732) include “basic material support of the victim of domestic violence and ä rescue, rehabilitation and integration of the victims.

He said government failure to provide free medical care for victims and setting up a fund to rehabilitate them was wrong.

Compensation and shelter

According to him, the Fund is also to provide compensation and provide shelter for victims of domestic violence.

As far as he is aware, only one shelter established by Ark Foundation, Non Governmental organisation is operational in the country.



Source: The Finder

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