Abuse Relief Corps, A nonprofit organisation with support from UNICEF Ghana on Friday 9th April 2021 held a stakeholders workshop to deliberate on pressing issues on sexual Gender base violence (SGBV) and the way forward.
The Executive Director of Abuse Relief Corps Mr Anthony Boateng Bediako speaking to the media after the workshop said that his outfit provides support to victims of sexual abuse seeking justice and also specifically provide assistance with the medical report fee payment with transportation cost and generally assist the police with materials that would make the cases progress smoothly.
“A couple of months ago we held a pressing engagement to make presentations to the general public that we are running a project with UNICEF Ghana and it’s called ‘Case Management Of Sexual Gender Base Violence(SGBV) and that maiden encounter we provide a statistics on the cases we have worked on so far. Today’s meeting a workshop for the various stakeholders so particularly we have Dovvsu officers from the Ghana Police Service, Department of Social Welfare, Activists and other Nongovernmental organisations that have a role to play in cases of SGBV”.
“The goal of this workshop is to bring us all together as stakeholders so that we can interact and discuss best practices. Some of the topics discussed were Inter-Sectoral Procedures(ISSOP) in managing sexual and gender-based cases and the various roles that we as stakeholders have to play in working out these cases”.
Mr Boateng Bediako also added that the workshop was to highlight the roles of the stakeholders such as the reps from the health sector, Police service, Ghana Education as well as the NGOs, families and all those that matter in the society.
“Our roles will be discussed and the way forward to improve our efforts. So far in October 2020 about sixty-nine cases were been worked on but now we are around Hundred and thirty-one cases and the majority of them are females. These are cases are girls and boys who are below eighteen years; he added.
The regional girls education officer in the Greater Accra region, Madam Christiana Azure Ayinyoza mentioned that her role as the girl’s officer is to encourage them to report the sexual abuse cases to the authorities in charge.
“My work as the education officer is to encourage the victims to reports to authorities in charge. The challenges we face is that gender-based violence is a criminal act when it comes to sexual abuse a lot of our children goes under forms of abuse and sexual abuse is one of them”.
She furthermore stated that her outfit has taken it upon themselves to sensitise the children to report all abuse cases.
“Those that we can investigate and know for example when the attitude of the victim in school changes you will see that some of them will not be happy in class.
“The teachers and children are been sensitise so that you would be able to observe and know that the child is going through some form of abuse and then find out what kind of abuse is the child is going through and find the solution. Ghana Education Service does not handle abuse cases because it’s a criminal case; Madam Azure Ayinzoya started”.
Mrs Charlotte Myers, Deputy Chief Clinical Physiologist with the Ghana Health Service and also at the LEKMA Hospital, in an interview appealed to the government to employ more counsellors and psychologists since the governmental agencies institutions do not have enough counsellors and psychologists.
“We have a lot of counsellors trained in the system. So I will appeal to President Akufo-Addo led government to employ psychologists and counsellors. I would be excited if the government will consider employing them in most of the institutions because they are well needed there. So that we can individuals to do well in both psychologically and physically and mentally”.
She also emphasised that the examination of abused individuals who be done by trained personnel because they have the skills as to what to look out for.
“A layperson can just look at it casually and said something has been done but a trained person has a third eye to tell the person what has happened. We have the doctors doing it just as I said is a skill that should be learnt and we don’t have enough doing it. Most of them going to court is another issue because the court will interrogate them to know what happened and also talked about what they have done. Some such peoples should be trained so we need more of the trained personnel”.
ARC is a non-governmental organisation that seeks justice for abused women and children, and provide shelter for victims of abuse who no longer feel safe in their environment. It also provides self-defence training for girls to escape abusive situations.