Ghana has begun processes towards the establishment of One-Stop Centres for persons who suffer violence and abuses of all kinds, especially children.
These centres when established will ensure that abuse victims get the needed protection and fast-track the process to bring perpetrators to book.
The One Stop Centre provides a host of specialised services to victims and survivors of physical and sexual violence, including health care, counselling, and collection of forensic evidence, criminal investigation, referral and psychological support.
As part of steps to get the One-Stop Centres operational in Ghana, a three-day technical workshop was held in Ho, the Volta Region capital, from Sunday, November 25, to Tuesday, November 27, 2018.
On the sidelines of the workshop aimed at enhancing child protection system in Ghana, the Acting Director of the Department of Children at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Florence Ayisi Quartey, said the Ministry of Health will be the implementing Ministry when the centres are established.
She said the staff of the Ghana Police Service, especially the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit Department of Social Welfare and other service providers in the protection of children and victims of abuse will be available to at the centres to ensure holistic care.
Violence against children is a common reality in Ghana.
Corporal punishment of children is widely practised. 90% of children are exposed to physical and mental violence.
“Most of the times, the Victim had to go the police, take a form, go to health [centres], then looking for the social welfare officer; things like that. If the victims report to that Centre, then they can get access to all these serves at once. And then also we are looking for quality evidence to collect because what sometimes really prevent cases from being prosecuted is the fact that evidence delay or the reports are not written properly,” said Florence Ayisi Quartey
She hinted that a roadmap has been drawn for the full adoption of the concept and a pilot implementation is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019.
Facilities like the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital have been earmarked for implementation on a pilot basis, she revealed.
The concept which originated from Malaysia is now operational in South Asia and Africa.
Some of the African countries that have adopted it are Zambia, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Cote D’Ivoire and Zanzibar, the semi-autonomous region of Tanzania.
The project brought together technical representatives from several institutions, government departments and agencies and civil society organisations.
They include Ghana Police Service, Social Welfare Department, Department of Children, and Ghana Health Service.
The project is supported by the World Future Council (WFC), an international foundation in Germany which envisions a sustainable, just and peaceful future where universal rights are respected.
The Senior Project Manager of World Future Council, Samia Kassid, commended the government, the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection; and the Department of Children for the political will and dedication towards the establishment of the One-Stop-Centres.