CEGENSA Holds Post Anniversary Panel Discussion

Panellists present at the panel discussion on domestic violence

As part of its 10th anniversary celebrations and to mark 16 days of Activism Against Gender in Violence in Africa, the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) held a panel discussion on the theme ‘Confronting Domestic Violence in Ghana’.

Two years ago, CEGENSA launched the Evidence and Lessons from Latin America (ELLA) Phase 2 Project to enable access to evidence and lessons from Latin American countries on domestic violence. This was intended to help policymakers, policy influencers, and practitioners in Africa and Latin American countries make informed policies on domestic violence.

In line with these objectives, CEGENSA undertook research and produced the Regional Evidence Papers and a Comparative paper that analysed the implementation of Mexican and Ghanaian domestic violence laws. The panel discussion presented panellists the opportunity to interact with stakeholders and audience members and to share the lessons learned from the project.

Panellists present at the event were Dr. Akosua K. Darkwah of CEGENSA, Professor Mansah Prah, Professor of Sociology and a researcher on the ELLA  Project, and Ms. Victoria Natsu of the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection. Professor Audrey Gadzekpo moderated the discussions.

According to Professor  Prah, their research showed that more attention needed to be paid to preventing domestic violence from occurring and building more shelters for survivors. She revealed that Ghana presently has only two shelters to house and support survivors of domestic violence and explained that contrary to popular views, the term ‘domestic violence’ covers a range of psychological, physical, financial, emotional, and sexual abuse in all manner of domestic settings.

Dr. Darkwah, in her remarks, noted that the support of community leaders was also vital to ensuring that survivors received support from their communities and families, as many are often ostracised for reporting incidents of domestic violence to the authorities, leading to reduced reporting rates of domestic violence to the police.

Panellists also discussed the need for more shelters to be built, particularly those with more coordinated and streamlined services which would allow them to juxtapose victims’ need for economic independence with their need for shielding them away from their offenders. According to the panellists, the lack of shelters and incomplete  houses made survivors wary to address domestic violence because of the potential loss of their homes, families, and financial security if they reported domestic violence.

A cross section of the audience at the event