Nana Oye Lithur
Ministers ON the sector ministries’ interventions on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) have held discussions to develop a
cross-disciplinary strategy for the prevention and eventual elimination of SGBV in the country.
The high-level ministerial conference brought Ministers of Health, Justice and Attorney General, Interior, Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Education as well as other non government officials together for a frank and open discussion that would generate vigorous and continued debates on issues of SGBV in Ghana.
It also provided ministers of state with the platform to renew the country’s commitment to the gender agenda, with particular regards to the elimination of SGBV, which is gradually on the ascendency.
Records point to an overwhelming upsurge of SGBV within a period of three years.
The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, for instance, recorded as high as 54,415 reported cases of sexual and gender-based violence between 2011 and 2013.
The Child Protection Center at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has also recorded an increase in sexual and physical abuse of children – some as young as seven months old.
Nana Oye Lithur, Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection – host of the event –
acknowledged the fact that the country had laid the foundation with the establishment of organizations and formulation of policies to help address the issue.
However, she said the incidence of violence had continued to increase in the country despite interventions
Mrs. Lithur noted that the current situation called for a sustained effort by both government and nongovernmental organizations to eliminate SGBV and promote women’s rights.
She observed that unless women and girls have the opportunity to pursue their dreams and achieve their full potential without living in fear of violence, the country cannot move forward.
She said government could not be oblivious of the multifaceted and crosscutting nature of sexual and gender-based violence, thereby stressing the urgent need to develop and implement new strategies to holistically address these problems.
She also called for alliances between legal, social and health organizations to ensure that traditional practices that demean the value of women – like the female genital mutilation and widowhood rites – are addressed.
She further advocated for free access or low cost legal counseling for victims and improved school based counseling and referral systems.
Greater Accra Regional Minister, Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo and the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Julius Debrah, pledged their commitment and support to ensuring that SGBV was brought to an end.
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