The Domestic Violence and Victims' Support Unit (DOVVSU) is part of the Ghana Police Service and not a Non-Governmental Organisation where people sort out their private issues which are not criminal.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) George Appiah-Sakyi, who is the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinator of DOVVSU explained that DOVVSU has been mandated under the criminal code, Act 29 of 1960 to deal only with domestic crimes ranging from stealing from relations, causing harm to those one live with or relations, rape, defilement, incest, child neglect to other forms of sexual harassment.
He said the unit which has been in existence for ten years has also received civil cases which are not to be handled by it, but referred such cases to the courts and cited them to include property sharing, inheritance cases and child custody.
ASP Appiah-Sakyi who stated these in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA),emphasised that people who reported cases to them are however not driven away, but preliminary investigations are done by inviting the parties involved before directing them to the appropriate quarters.
The Co-ordinator stressed that until October 28, 1998 when the Unit was under the name Women and Juvenile's Unit (WAJU), it served only women and children until it was changed to DOVVSU, an all embracing term to cater for all domestic violent cases involving all and sundry including men.
He was of the view that, reported cases are going up each year not only because domestic violence is increasing but due to the confidence the public has in the Unit, adding that even children report their parents who refuse to take care of them.
ASP Appiah-Sakyi mentioned the dominant cases reported as neglect of parental duty, abduction, exposure of child to harm, assault, defilement, rape, stealing among others, saying not all cases are sent to court immediately.
In 2007, 1,911 cases were reported with 1,189 still under investigation, 652 were closed with 70 sent to court, 55 are still awaiting trial and 15 cases received convictions, according to a data collected by the Unit.
On the other hand from January to September 2008, 1,638 cases were reported, 1,056 are under investigations, 534 were closed, 47 sent to court, 27 are awaiting trial and one has been convicted.
The Co-ordinator is happy that the Unit has been able to provide avenues where people get the chance to pour their hearts out to relieve them psychologically or emotionally, stabilise marriages and parents being put on their toes as far as child responsibilities are concerned.