Madam Asibi Malonin, the Acting Director of Domestic Violence at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has called on religious bodies and traditional authorities to accommodate the concerns of victims of domestic violence.
She said the situation where victims are being “pushed back” to their perpetrators after lodging their complaints was not helping survivors of such situations.
Madam Malonin, who was addressing representatives of Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) in the Upper West Regional Capital, said domestic violence remains a serious crime and its scope was still widespread in the country.
The meeting was organised by the Gender Ministry in collaboration with Christian Council of Ghana under the theme: “Mainstreaming social protection into the activities and policies of FBOs in Ghana”.
“Domestic violence (DV) is a crime, it’s a serious crime, it has debilitating effects on the victims, parents, the community and the larger society,” Madam Malonin said.
“Let’s not push back victims of domestic violence to their abusers, it’s not helping us, survivors are often helpless in such situations and so need empowerment,” she said adding: “Let’s listen and take their stories and assure them that they can function again”.
Madam Malonin called on the FBOs to make follow-ups when DV cases were being reported to them before issues concerned escalate into the “explosive stage” that may result in deaths.
She cautioned religious leaders and traditional authorities against handling rape and defilement cases saying those ones are very serious cases that should be reported to the appropriate state agencies for swift intervention.
She said those cases should not equally be handled at home and warned that perpetrators could be jailed for a minimum of five or a maximum of 25 years.
Madam Malonin expressed worry that Ghana at 61 years many still did not recognise the importance of educating the girl child who often fall victim to abuses like educational, sexual, social, economic and psychological stresses among others.
She said “preventing abuse is one way of achieving social protection results,” and that no one deserves to be beaten, hit, battered, abused or harmed as this would make them live in perpetual fear.
Madam Malonin urged FBOs to document cases of domestic violence and use their pulpits to preach against the social canker.
Alhaji Baba Dawud, the Spokesperson for Upper West Regional Chief Imam, called FBOs to incorporate issues of social protection into their weekly, monthly and yearly programmes.
He urged leaders to get acquainted with the devastating consequences of violence and use relevant quotations from the Holy Quran and Bible to back their summons.
Others called for the setting up of vocational training centres in all the districts of the country, particularly to train Persons With Disabilities (PWDs).