Madam Cynthia Morrison, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) has urged the social protection agencies and departments to step up their roles to reduce cases of violence and abuse against women and children.
She said people having confidence in the various departments and agencies were critical to the cause of social justice and mentioned the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) especially, to sit up.
According to the Minister, the fact that innocent children continued to suffer abuse involving rape, defilement, trafficking, hard labour on daily basis and sometimes even death “is enough grounds to say that our social protection agencies and departments must sit up” she charged.
Madam Morrison, charged DOVVSU which was the first point of call to report violence and abuse cases, to treat every reported case with the ultimate commitment in line with the laws and sometimes “you must go beyond that and work with human touch”
She noted that often, reported cases were discounted as posed no threat however, they turned out to be fatal when social protection agencies failed to act adding that “treat every reported case as a threat, because too much women and children are suffering violence and death which are avoidable if only, state agencies had acted fast”
The Minister was speaking at the opening of a three-day workshop on Inter-Sectoral Standard Operating Procedures in child Protection Casework and Management in Koforidua.
Participants at the three-day workshop are drawn from the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana Education service (GES), Attorney General’s Department (A-G), Legal Aid, Department of Social Welfare and Community Development, DOVVSU and UNICEF to be trained on inter-sectoral pathway referral for the establishment of a child and family welfare management information system.
Mrs Florence Quartey, Director, Department of Children under the MoGCSP, said the establishment of the child and family welfare management information system was to track how violence and abuse cases against children were handled and to coordinate referral systems effectively.
She said the objective was to have a good formalised system for referral within the sectors and agencies working on social protection issues to ensure that victims were not over-burdened with having to move from one sector to another in seeking for social justice.
Mr Gary Gamer, a UNICEF consultant noted that services in the child protection sector were not coordinated and as parents, guardians and victims became frustrated in dropping of cases of rape, defilement and violence for lack of logistics and support.
He said it was interesting that victims of violence in most cases were made to pay for their own medical bills and expressed the hope that by the end of the training, a coordinated system would be adopted to free victims from frustration.