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Obuasi, Ghana: a step forward for girls victims of violence

In the Ghanaian municipality of Obuasi, women and girls victims of violence no longer have to bear the cost of medical examination. Local authorities have finally agreed to provide free medical check-up and report required by the police to act against and pursue the perpetrators of violence.

ghan doctorPrior to this legislative amendment, girls and young women of the Obuasi district who had been victims of violence, and especially sexual violence including rape, had to bear the cost of a medical report issued by qualified medical officers in order to prove their allegations to the police. Yet, since most victims came from poor and disadvantaged communities, they simply could not afford the cost of such medical treatment, thus preventing the effective investigation of the crime and the potential arrest and prosecution of the offenders.

Within its mandate under the “Girl Power” program, which is a cross-regional project funded by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DCI-Ghana has therefore successfully lobbied local authorities to strengthen the protection mechanisms to girls and women victims of gender-based violence.

The three-year lobbying process was made possible through the establishment of a sub-committee within the national Child Protection Network platform. Awareness raising activities within the Child Protection Network fora and continuous exchanges with municipal health directors, managers of health facilities and doctors across the Obuasi district directly and efficiently convinced medical doctors not to charge fees to issue medical reports for women and girls victims of violence. The lobbying efforts were also supported by the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit of the Police (DOVVSU), which now proves to be a crucial partner in the effective implementation of the legislative amendment.

Looking for more, DCI-Ghana now aims to conduct similar activities in other localities to ensure that protection mechanisms for women and girls victims of violence continue to improve. Next stop, Kumasi Metropolis!

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