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Traditional authorities should be empowered to fight gender-based violence – Chief

Kalbeo (U/E), Jan. 8, GNA – Naba Apasipanga Ayine II, the chief of Kalbeo in the Bolgatanga Municipality, has said there is the need to empower traditional authorities to deal with emerging concerns like gender-based cases.

He said there is the need for government to enact laws that would give traditional rulers the mandate and the right to punish perpetuators of gender-based violence in their communities.

He said many cases reported to the Ghana Police Service did not always yield the desired results and this has led to the loss of confidence in related public institutions and the reluctance to report cases anytime an abuse or a crime occurred.

Naba Ayine II was speaking at a community sensitization programme organized by the Upper East Regional Department of Gender as part of the ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence’ programme.

The programme was meant to educate members of the community on the causes of gender-based violence, its effects to socio-economic development and how they (members of the community) could significantly contribute to end the challenge.

The annual event, which is usually marked between November 25 to December 10, was held under the theme: “Ending Gender-based Violence: The Role of the Community”.

Naba Ayine II said unlike other institutions, the traditional authorities are highly respected, and cases would be properly handled when they are empowered to prosecute perpetuators of violence in the community.

Mr James Twene, the Acting Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Gender, said violence occurs in every community hence the need for members at the community level to be sensitized on the causes of violence in their homes and how they could help end it and promote harmonious living.

He said statistics from DOVVSU indicates that the country witnessed 316; 236; and 311; cases of rape in the years 2015, 2016 and 2017 respectively while defilement cases in the respective three years were 1198; 722; and 793.

Within these same years, 5494; 4190; and 5019 cases of assault were recorded. Mr Twene said globally, one woman experienced violence out of every three women while about 35 percent of women in the world suffered physical and sexual violence.

He said with the stated statistics, gender-based violence is prevalent, however, people are ignorant about the Domestic Violence Act of 2007, Act 732, and its implications and continue to suffer gender-based violence in their respective homes and communities.

The Acting Director took community members through some of the practices that constituted violence, the types of violence, especially those which were related to gender and the institutions responsible for handling such cases.

Ms Yvonne Wonchua, the Assistant Director of Administration at the Upper East Regional Coordinating Council, said urged women to always report any form of abuse cases to the appropriate authorities for redress.

She said institutions such as the DOVVSU, Ghana Legal Aid and the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) were there to assist them and they were responsible for investigating abuse cases at no cost.

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