The Director of the Legal Assistance Network-Ghana has urged the government to build shelters for domestic violence victims to help minimise the abuse culture.
Speaking on The Law, Mrs Irene Aborchie-Nyahe said that the provision of shelter gives abusers a neutral ground and place to start life over once again.
“I can tell you that majority of the people are still in abusive relationships because they don’t know where they would lay their heads when they get out of the abuser’s environment. So a shelter is very crucial to the administration of justice in this country,” she told Samson Lardy Anyenini, host of the show.
Mrs Aborchie-Nyahe added that some institutions like Ark Foundation have put up some shelters to house domestic abuse victims that seek their help.
Also, the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) is putting up a shelter to also house victims. However, there is not a shelter big enough to accommodate the numerous victims in the country, she said.
Mrs Aborchie-Nyahe added that if these shelters are put up, victims will be able to leave their abusive homes and seek the help needed.
“If the abuse is increasing and during the Covid-19 era it skyrocketed imagine all those people and remember that when they run to their families they are told to go back home”.
“But if they have neutral ground where they can seek refuge, I am very sure that a lot of them will run there. So if they have a neutral space that they can go and occupy for sometime, and then think through their lives and know the next step to take that will help to reduce abuse”.
Her comment comes in the wake of the increasing reports of domestic abuse in the country.
On March 9, it was reported that a businessman, Prince Charles Dedjoe, was charged with murder by police prosecutors for allegedly killing his wife following several reports of abuse.
Soon after, it was again reported that a level 300 student of the Evangelical Presbyterian University College has died after she was allegedly assaulted by her boyfriend.
Following these reports many women albeit anonymously have been opening up about the abuse they endure in their homes, some afraid to leave because of finances.
Also speaking on The Law, a member of the Coalition for Survivors of Domestic Violence, said that shelters will not only offer a roof for victims but will also provide other services for these victims who are afraid to open up.
Some of these services include counselling, legal help, medical attention among others that will see to it that victims are safe physically and psychologically, Miss Nana Yaa Ntiwaa Asare added.
“What government should focus on now is how to channel finances into the funding account created for domestic abuse victims. They (government) have good intentions and all that but until it is implemented it is not done because abuse is still ongoing”.
Mrs Aborchie-Nyahe said that if government builds these shelters it could be a one-stop-shop that does not only protect victims but equip them with skills to help them stand on their own financially.
She added that because of the rigorous processes victims go through when they report a case, many of them give up. As such, the shelters should be equipped with the needed facilities that will ensure that victims are not moved from one place to the other.