15 August 2018
HE Samira Bawumia engaged in a tête-a-tête with the UNFPA Country Representative, Mr Niyi Ojuolape

An estimated 177,840 cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) including rape, defilement, incest, and compulsory marriage were reported to the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service between the years 2000 and 2013. In addition, Ghana has one of the highest rates of Child Marriage in the West and Central Africa region with 1 in 5 girls being married before their 18th birthday. Regretfully, about 32% of these cases are women and girls aged 15-24 and they think that wife beating can be justified due to socio-cultural norms and stereotypes (DHS 2014).

In spite of the existence of a number of laws, policies and frameworks that meet international best practices as well as comprehensive programmes and interventions, these statistics persists. This may be due to cultural and socio economic factors on the side of the sufferers as well as weak legal systems and disciplinary mechanisms.

The Office of the Second Lady (OSL) with support from UNFPA Ghana has launched a Coalition of People against SGBV/Harmful Practices (CoPASH). This is significant to raise the national response to issues of SGBV/HPs through high level Advocacy for coordinated and holistic response.

Success in reducing Child Marriage, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV), Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) – Rape, Defilement, Wife Battery, etc in several countries where it was once highly prevalent has occurred as a result of increasing partnership and multi-sectoral approach such that agencies, organization, and individuals who are passionate about the rights of women and girls worked together to address Domestic Violence (DV) and ensure that holistic services are provided to receive complaints of DV, investigate, arrest and prosecute offenders of DV, make referrals, advocate and provide support to victims of DV.

Support will be provided by UNFPA Ghana to invite and facilitate all interested persons; local and international organizations, individuals and institutions who are concerned and engaged in issues of women and girls right in Ghana. Also, UNFPA Ghana and Office of the Second Lady will provide support in bringing companies, executives, experts and change makers who have shown exceptional leadership and have potential to provide high-level support in achieving the objectives of CoPASH.

The Coalition of People against SGBV/Harmful Practices (CoPASH) will provide opportunities to support the completion of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) One Stop Center of the Ghana Police Service, which will facilitate the provision of coordinated response to SGBV/HPs; set-up and launch of a virtual SGBV/HPs platform to provide intermediate services to survivors of violence and also support the strengthening of SGBV court system and emerging efforts and campaigns around SGBV/HPs in Ghana as they arise.

UNFPA Ghana and its partners will continue to advocate and create visibility for interventions aimed at preventing and managing gender issues in Ghana.