UNFPA Ghana together with its partners including the Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) as well as the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service have launched a domestic violence support centre to provide holistic assistance to victims and survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.
The centre, christened the Orange Support Centre was jointly launched with the Boame mobile app in Accra on Thursday, March 11, 2021.
The Director of Research at MoGCSP, Efua Ayanful, in her address said violence against women and children remains a major challenge to the development of women, girls and children in the country and consequently has negatively effected the country’s economic, health and education agenda.
She said while men also suffer domestic violence and abuse, available data shows that women, girls and children are the worse victims.
“Domestic and gender-based violence is one of the most heinous acts which is not only dehumanizing but constitutes a grave violation of the fundamental human rights and freedom of its victims especially women and children.”
Sharing some statistics on domestic and gender-based violence in the country, she said in 2017, the number of defilement cases reported was 703 with rape being 311. The number of assault cases was the highest, 5,019.
In 2018, there was a slight decrease, with defilement and rape being 634 and 211 respectively. Assault cases were 2,856.
In 2019, defilement cases rose sharply to 1,285 just as rape, which stood at 376. The number of assault cases also saw a significant increase to 5,333.
She revealed that although official statistics for 2020 are not out yet, studies show a likely increase due to the COVID-19 situation and its resultant closure of schools and businesses that saw many people staying at home and with their potential abusers.
Efua Ayanful said the establishment of the support centre is long overdue and commended the UNFPA and its partners for the work done.
She said the move is a bold step towards helping victims of sexual and gender-based violence.
“As a ministry that cares about the vulnerable, we have been taking steps to find some solutions to alleviate the suffering of survivors. We are therefore grateful to the UNFPA and for that matter, the UN, for the great support in refurbishing the domestic violence centre as well as the centre we are about to launch. We believe that among other things, it will serve as a clear entry point for citizens who require domestic service and also simplify administrative procedures and processes.” she added.
The Director for UN Systems at the Ministry of Finance, Gladys Osabutey said the centre and the mobile app were key steps towards eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls in Ghana.
She said Ghana’s current situation of sexual and gender-based violence means that the country “[is] indeed in a battle against sexual and gender-based violence,” adding that although the situation is bleak, “it is not beyond salvation.”
The Orange Support Centre is the first of kind in Ghana and will offer psychosocial support, counselling and legal assistance services and also referral to shelters.
The Country Representative for the UNFPA in Ghana, Niyi Ojuolape said the centre will operate a walk-in service as well as a call centre that will enable victims get various assistance in the most confidential manner.
He said the goal is to beat all forms of domestic abuse and transition victims to survivors.
The Orange Support Centre can be reached on toll-free number 0800111222 or through the Boame mobile app.