Interference from influential people including traditional authorities, politicians and opinion leaders has been identified as one of the major factors militating against swift and effective prosecution of perpetrators of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV).
Unwillingness of some victims of such cases to report to appropriate authorities or testify in court and pressure on some victims by relatives for the issue to be handled within the family setting are additional hindrances.
This came to light during the first quarter stakeholders’ session on the Provision of Minimum Essential Service Package (MESP) for survivors of Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Volta Region.
The meeting was to review the 2022 performance of various sectors in providing essential services to the victims and to look at programmes and activities for this year.
Stakeholders at the meeting described the interference as unfortunate, disturbing, and an impediment to the country’s progressive drive and called for concerted efforts to tackle the situation.
Mr Augustus Kwaku Awity, a Chief Director at the Volta Regional Coordinating Council, speaking to the Ghana News Agency called on people engaging in such interferences to desist from it as it was a complete act of illegality.
He said rape and defilement cases were serious issues and victims of abuses suffered a lot including psychological trauma, hence, all hands must be on deck to ensure that perpetrators of such crimes were not shield, but rather dealt with.
Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe, Volta Regional Director, Department of Gender, said through effective collaboration between various sectors in the provision of the services, the Region was gradually witnessing drastic improvement in addressing SGBV issues.
She told the GNA that the coordination led to the prosecution of several SGBV cases in the year under review and made referrals easier for victims to quickly and timely respond to their situation.
The Director said the platform provided five critical essential services to victims of SGBV including justice and security, justice, and policing, social, health and legal.
She said they would continue to intensive their advocacy this year, bringing onboard other institutions, provide training for members on issues of sexual exploitation and sexual violence and effective data collection.
Mr Felix Datsomor, a Circuit Court Judge, told the GNA it was important that society “give life to the law” by the things it does and ensuring that it upholds whatever the law proscribed.
He said, “we want a society protected by law,” thus, it was important that once the laws were made, each and everyone must endeavour to uphold it,” urging those engaging in such hindrances to desist from it.
“There are certain limits that you cannot cross, if the law has designated certain offences as those that are out of reach of Alternative Dispute Resolution or Mediation, we should just respect it, because the law was made to protect society.”
Mrs Stella Mawutor, Volta Regional Director, Department of Social Welfare, said society benefited significantly from social services and that they were part of the human development index so, it is important to take a critical look at the area.
She called for support for people leading the services and assured that the various sectors would continue to work together to bring the best services to victims of SGBV to improve their lives.
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