The National Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, on Tuesday said the Service is about to introduce a sex offenders register into the country’s crime prevention crusade.
“In Ghana generally, we document all convicts, there is a procedure that we go through. We don’t have one specifically for rape convicts, but we intend to do that going forward.
“It is on the drawing board, to establish a register for people who have been convicted of rape which among other things is to serve as a reference point,” Chief Superintendent Owusua Kyeremeh said.
Chief Supt. Kyeremeh who is the DOVVSU National Coordinator said this during a virtual seminar, organized by the Justice Foundation. The webinar seminar was moderated by Bettina Kwarteng, a Legal Practitioner and the Deputy Executive Director of The Justice Foundation.
The Justice Foundation is a non-profit organization that champions broad access to justice by the citizenry, in collaboration with “Glitz Africa”.
The seminar was on the theme: “Eradicating a Culture of Rape in Ghana”.
Chief Supt. Kyeremeh said the sex offender registry is a system in various countries designed to allow government authorities to keep track of the activities of sex offenders, including those who have completed their criminal sentences.
He said in some jurisdictions, registration is accompanied by residential address notification requirements. In many jurisdictions, registered sex offenders are subject to additional restrictions even on housing.
He said those on parole or probation may be subject to restrictions that do not apply to other parolees or probationers.
Chief Supt. Kyeremeh said registered sex offenders are not allowed to sign up for or use Facebook or other social media platforms.
He said sex offender registries exist in many English-speaking countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.
He said the United States is the only country with a registry that is publicly accessible. All other countries in the English – speaking world have sex offender registries which are only accessible to law enforcement agencies.
Dr. Raymond Owusu-Ansah, a legal practitioner and a medical doctor, who also participated in the webinar, urged the Police Service to include evidence of persons whose details may have been discovered after acts of rape but were not necessarily arrested.
“I think going forward, we should also be looking at not only those who have been convicted. If you are able to get evidence, but you can’t get identity to that evidence, but you are able to get DNA samples, this can be added to that database.
“What it does is that in the future, it can also assist in arresting the person who may have committed this one and managed to escape through the loophole,” Dr. Owusu Ansah said.
The Justice Foundation is an apolitical, not-for-profit, non-religious organization, with the sole purpose of increasing access to justice in Ghana, founded by Dr. Kwaku Agyeman-Budu, a lawyer.