Pearl Safe Haven project to provide shelter for abused young women

General News of Monday, 3 December 2018

Source: 3news.com

2018-12-03

Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes

Young women within the ages of 18 and 25 who have suffered one form of violent abuse would have the opportunity to undergo a three-month recovery programme thanks to the Pearl Safe Haven project.

The project being executed in partnership with the Australian High Commission in Ghana will put up a safe house for these female survivors of gender-based violence.

The women will have access to medical, psychological and legal counsel. They will be provided life-skills and vocational training aimed at empowering them for a successful reintegration into society.

To be run by highly qualified and motivated team of professionals, beneficiaries would even be monitored and supported when they leave the centre.

Ghana Statistical Service report on domestic violence says about 27.7 percent of women in Ghana have experienced at least one type of domestic violence in their life time.

Coinciding with the 16-day global campaign against gender-based violence (November 25 to December 10), the Australian High Commission raised 175,000 cedis at the Melbourne Cup charity gala for the project.

The money would be used to build the first safe haven in Accra, which construction starts in December.

By June 2019, the facility should be ready to accommodate people who need support, Isabel Acquah, Project Lead of the Pearl Safe Haven noted.

She reiterated that victims would be taken through series of programmes aimed at giving them economic freedom among others to make them independent.

Though the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service has been working hard to rescue victims of domestic violence, sheltering them has become a huge challenge, hampering its efforts.

The Pearl Safe Haven project, Isabel said, would work hand in hand with DOVVSU. After a memorandum of understanding has been signed, the shelter will only accept victims referred by DOVVSU, she explained.

Akosua Agyepong, Project Manager of Pearl Safe Haven, added that the project decided to concentrate on women from 18 to 25 because they are the group that are “four times more likely to suffer domestic violence”.

The shelter can accept 30 women at a time, she said, as the centre hopes to accommodate 100 people in a year.

Based on the success of the first shelter in Accra and the availability of funds, similar ones would be erected in other regions.

The shelter in Accra would however accept people from every part of the country.

Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes remarked that gender-based violence is a “global problem”, which Australia has its fair share.

He pointed out that one out of three Australian women has been abused in her lifetime.

Mr. Barnes unequivocally condemned all forms of violence irrespective of the persons being perpetuated against, and therefore promised the High Commission’s continuous support for the Pearl Safe Haven and similar projects.

The official launch of the Pearl Safe Haven project was held on the evening of Wednesday November 28, with guests from across the spectrum of business, NGOs, government and media.

The Pearl Safe Haven project grew out of The Lady Organisation, a non-profit initiative in collaboration with Villa Monticello that seeks to create a place for young women to develop practical life skills, share aspirations and address challenges with confidence.

The project is also being supported by JLD and MB Legal Consultancy, Signum Developers, Fotco Ventures, Stimuluz, and Ori Consult.

Meanwhile, the Australian High Commission on November 28 hosted a seminar on the topic; “Gender-Based Violence: A Challenge that transcends Culture, Class & Continents”.

It had panelists from Ghana, Australia and Canada to talk about rates of violence in their countries, and the different approaches taken to address the issue.

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