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14.05.2004 General News

Domestic Violence Bill will lead to broken homes- Participants

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Tamale, May 14, GNA- Some Muslim women in the Northern Region at a forum on the Domestic Violence Bill in Tamale on Wednesday spoke against the bill saying that it is against the principles of Islam. They said the bill would create disrespect in Muslim families because it sought to give more powers to women than men. They said passing the bill into law would not change violence against women and called for intensive public education against violence to enable both men and women to know their rights and responsibilities.

They contended that the bill could also bring broken homes among spouses and unruly behaviour among children towards their parents. Traditional rulers, civil society organisations, including women's associations, officials of government departments, NGOs and the security agencies, attended the forum.

The forum was to solicit views from stakeholders on the Bill, which seeks to adopt non-violent means of resolving inter-gender and spousal relations misunderstanding, and to prescribe appropriate sanctions and remedies for perpetrators and victims. Some of the women suggested the establishment of structures at the local level, such as safe homes for victims of domestic violence since in most cases, women who are battered by their husbands are not welcomed in their fathers' homes. They also called on traditional rulers and the government to look critically into the dowry system saying the practice in some parts of the country had made some men to enslave women.