Rape Victims To Benefit From Free Medicals
Plans are underway for victims of sexual abuse to receive free treatment at the various government health facilities in the country.
Victims who will report at the health facilities with police forms will be taken care of free of charge, according to Chief Superintendent Reverend Lawrencia Akorli, National Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit(DOVVSU) under the Ghana Police Service.
She explained that the initiative is in line with the Domestic Violence Act 732(2007) which states that victims of domestic violence must be treated free of charge.
Some of the victims have complained about the high cost they are made to pay, some as much as GH¢200 and above, whenever they report at government hospitals for treatment.
They also claimed some police personnel sometimes demand GH¢20 from them before police medical forms are issued.
However, at a stakeholders meeting, attended by DOVVSU personnel and other stakeholders to validate a sexual and gender based Violence Case Protocol and Codified Handbook in Accra, Rev. Akorli said such victims are already traumatized and that there is no need for either the police or health personnel attending to them to put barriers on their way.
The meeting was organised by DOVVSU with support from the UNFP.
“The protocol and codified handbook will enhance the knowledge of officers who handle sexual and gender based violence cases, on the laws on such cases, code of conduct, pre-investigation procedures, management of crime scenes, handling of exhibits, building a case docket and court processes among others.”
She suggested that case officers must endeavor to accompany victims to the hospitals and tell the doctors to check out for some evidences that would aid in their investigations and not sit in the comfort of their offices.
“If, you, the case officers are present, you can tell the doctors what you want them to look out for and include in the report aside the treatment of the patient, to aid you in your investigations.
Don't assume doctors know your work and will do it for you,” she added.
Adding her voice, an Executive Secretary at the Domestic Violence Secretariat at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ms Malonin Asibi described as worrying the way victims are compelled to fend for their medical bills.
“A board was put in place a year ago, under the law, to source for funds to support such victims but the board is yet to start work and the ministry is working hard to ensure that the board starts work immediately,” she disclosed.
Chief Superintendent (rtd), Felix Mawusi, a consultant who put together the protocol and codified handbook, said, the book would enhance case management from investigation to prosecution of sexual and gender based violence cases.
By Linda Tenyah-Ayettey