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UNFPA Ghana in partnership with the Domestic Violence Secretariat under the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection, launched the Orange Support Centre and the Boame Mobile application at an event organised on the 11th of March, 2021 at the Domestic Violence Secretariat as part of the 2021 International Women’s Day celebrations.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Orange Support Centre, Madame Melonie Asibi, the Head of the DV Secretariate of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection stated that there is a projected increase in the number of domestic violence cases as a result of COVID-19 and its restrictions hence the need for the Ministry to be adequately prepared to curb the incidence of domestic and gender violence so as to close the gaps in gender inequalities.

UNFPA Resident Representative Niyi Ojuolape in his solidarity message said the launch of the support centre and the Boame App is a progression from the DOVVSU hotline which begun last year to report cases of Domestic Violence. The demand for support through the hotline and its success, created the need for a functional centre to serve as an avenue to provide support to victims.

The UN Resident Coordinator Mr Charles Abani in his address revealed that, Women and Girls are prone to different vulnerabilities including social, physical, sexual, psychological and economic violence. He gave a few statistics that indicates adolescent Girls 15 to 19 years old, are 4 times more likely to experience violence than those above 19 years; women and Girls are likely to experience up to 3.7 times more, domestic violence than at other times and uneducated women are up to 2.5 times more likely to experience domestic violence than those who are educated. He said 27.7% of women have experienced at least one type of domestic violence in their life time; of all births registered in Ghana, in 2014, 30% of them were by adolescent girls; and 14% of school children had ever been sexually abused. He said the sad thing is that majority of sexual violence cases were perpetrated by the victims’ own family members with a few being done by close pals. “There therefore the need for several and innovative interventions to be put in place to ensure that such unfortunate realities are not magnified during and after the current COVID-19 pandemic” Mr Abani concluded.

The Orange Support Centre is a landmark innovation in the Ghanaian Gender / SGBV milieu, leveraging technology to put in place an integrated support system for SGBV victims and survivors through a mobile app, a toll-free call centre, 0800 111 222 and a volunteer platform, the BoameApp technology, that harnesses the strength of certified professionals to facilitate psychosocial, legal, medical and physical support among others.

Performing the ceremonial commissioning on behalf of Mrs Samira Bawumia, wife of the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs Gladys Osabutey of the Ministry of Finance said, the theme for the 2021 International Women’s Day celebration is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID19 World” but Women cannot lead if they continue experiencing domestic violence. Hence it is a laudable gesture that the Ministry has put in place the support services to compliment what the Domestic Violence and Victims’ Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service doing by identifying, investigating and prosecuting perpetrators.

The event was graced by the Canadian High commissioner, Cathy Csaba, The Australian High Commissioner, Gregory Andrews, A representative from the International Federation of women Lawyers Ghana, Madam Afua Adottey, who all gave solidarity messages to exhibit their support for the centre. Among the dignitaries are other Heads of the UN organisations.