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Failure to pass Domestic Violence Bill hinders prosecution – CHRAJ Investigator

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law-and-justiceThe failure of Parliament to pass the Domestic Violence Bill is seriously affecting the prosecution of domestic violence cases by the courts and that is worsening the plight of victims, a Principal Investigator of the Commission on Human Rights Administrative of Justice (CHRAJ) has observed.

Mr Augustine Atibila, the Investigator, expressed the worry at the end-of-year review meeting of Widows and Orphans Movement (WOM) /Action Aid Ghana / Community Based Anti-Violence Teams Members held in Bolgatanga at the weekend.

The meeting was to review the activities undertaken by the Community Based Anti-Violence Teams (COMBATs) since the beginning of the year in their respective communities. COMBATs are formed by WOM with support from AAG in the in Sakoti, Zalerigu, Shia and Datuku communities in the Region and charged with the responsibilities to report domestic violence issues to the appropriate authorities for redress.

Mr Atibila indicated that it was only when offenders of domestic violence were prosecuted that it would serve as a good deterrent to others unlike the present state of the Act which could not give legal backing to any case that was prosecuted.

He impressed upon Civil Society Organizations to put pressure on Parliament to speed up the passage of the Domestic Violence bill to pave way for effective redress, stressing that it was the only way  cases of domestic violence would be reduced.

Mr Gregory Dery, Programme Officer of AAG urged the COMBATs to be more innovative and go beyond their role by becoming Community Development Advocates so that they could contribute meaningfully to community development.

He said reports from Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU), of the Police Service revealed that from January to November, out of the 165 cases that were reported, 85 of them were assault cases and the rest were issues of rape and defilement.

He noted that CHRAJ also recorded 214 cases of domestic violence and stated that the cases recorded by both institutions were about 50 per cent of the reported cases while a lot more went unreported.

He called on state institutions such the DOVVSU, CHRAJ and the Department of Social Welfare to partner with the COMBATs and also urged traditional rulers to constantly engage with their subjects on the need to stay away from violence.

Source: GNA

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