Divisional and District Commanders of the Ghana Police Service in areas without offices of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) must handle cases of sexual and gender based violence in their jurisdictions and ensure thorough investigation.
The Director General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service (CID), Maame Yaa Tiwaa Addo Danquah, who gave the advice, explained that if the perpetuators of sexual and gender based violence are prosecuted and punished, the high cases being recorded by the police could reduce.
Maame Addo-Danquah was speaking at a two-day sensitization workshop on sexual and gender based violence for 40 Divisional and District Commanders and some investigators of the Ghana Police Service, selected from districts in the country without offices of DOVVSU throughout the country.
The DOVVSU recorded a total of 12,176 sexual and gender based violence cases in 2016 with males reporting 1,826 cases and females 10,350 cases, with the figures increasing to a total of 14,919 cases in 2017, with 2,816 male victims and 12, 103 female victims.
Maame Addo-Danquah appealed to District and Divisional Police Commanders to support the DOVVSU offices under their jurisdiction with the requisite logistics to enable them to give off their best.
She said on assumption of duty as the Director General of CID, she ensured that all officers of DOVVSU were trained on the sexual and gender based violence laws of the country, which had now been made part of the general training of all police personnel in the country.
Maame Addo-Danquah explained that, one need to know the law and the issues at stake to be able to appreciate the effect of sexual and gender based violence on the victims.
She thanked the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) for funding most of the training workshops for the police personnel in the country, including the DOVVSU staff.
Dr Angela Dwamena Aboagye, Executive Director of Ark Foundation and a resource person at the workshop, appealed for transport and other resources for the DOVVSU.
She explained that in many of the cases that come before the DOVVSU, the victims need to be transported if they have to be relocated.
Mr Amadu Bawa of the UNFPA called for the institution of the sensitization workshop on sexual and gender based violence for police commanders as an annual programme.
He explained that police commanders in the country are regularly on transfer and new commanders need to be trained.
Mr Bawa said sexual and gender based violence is a crime and the police need to understand the issues at stake to be able to effectively apply the law.
Earlier in a welcoming address, Ms Evelyn Borbor, National Coordinator of DOVVSU explained that, over the years, reported cases of sexual and gender based violence keep increasing and it is becoming a challenge to the Police Service, hence the sensitization workshop.
She expressed the hope that by the end of the workshop, the participants would be in the position to give appropriate service instructions to police personnel investigating complaints of sexual and gender based violence.