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Enhancing Protective Services for SGBV Survivors in Ghana

In Ghana, the passage of the Domestic Violence (DV) Act in 2007 for many was a significant step in the goal of solving the Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) canker. However, the inadequate of shelters in the country continue to be a source of worry as survivors are left clueless when locating a place of refuge in order to be shielded from their abusers.  But it is the dawning of a new era and that narrative is becoming history.

As part of activities to mark this year’s 16 Days of Activism, UNFPA Ghana handed over a refurbished DV Shelter and office equipment to the DV Secretariat of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGSCP) on 9th December,2020.

Speaking at the handing over ceremony, Mr. Niyi Ojuolape, UNFPA Country Representative, called on all to recognize the national theme of this year’s 16 Days of Activism- “Accelerate Action to Prevent SGBV in the Wake of COVID-19: The Role of Sustainable Funding”- as a wakeup call to end SGBV. While appreciating the vital role the Domestic Violence and Victim and Support Unit (DOVVSU) and MoGSCP have played in SGBV management in Ghana, Mr. Ojuolape emphasized that “since survivors require more than prosecution of perpetrators, shelters remain the safest place for them” hence the renovation of the DV Shelter.

Representing the Minister of MoGSCP, Dr. Afisah Zakariah, Chief Director of MoGSCP expressed her heartfelt appreciation to UNFPA for the kind gesture. She promised that equipment provided would serve its intended purpose. Dr. Zakariah added that, access to shelters for SGBV survivors go a long way to provide relief while legal actions are taken against perpetrators.

Also, at the ceremony, Chief Superintendent Alice Awarikaro, Greater Accra Regional Coordinator of DOVVSU painfully recounted how SGBV survivors have had to return to their abusers at home due to lack of shelters available and how they struggled to keep them safe at times in their offices. On the back of this, she stated that “the refurbishment of the DV Shelter is very timely”.

Taking into consideration the three P’s –Prevention, Protection and Punishment, it is time to enhance the protection of SGBV survivors in Ghana through providing state-of-the-art shelters.