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08.09.2005 General News

Need for alternative conflict resolution ....


... under Domestic Violence Bill-Oti Boateng

Koforidua, Sept. 8, GNA - Daasebre Dr Oti Boateng, Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional Area, on Wednesday called for the provision of alternative conflict resolution in the Domestic Violence Bill (DVB) to help protect the sanctity of marriages.

He suggested the establishment of marriage counselling units in the districts to have the first option in the settlement of marital disputes before being referred to the Courts for redress. Daasebre Dr Oti Boateng was speaking at a day's seminar to solicit for views of women groups in the Eastern Region on the draft Domestic Violence Bill at Koforidua.

He observed that, the underlying cause of most domestic violence was poverty and called for further research into the causes of domestic violence to be incorporated into the draft law to cater for the people's interests.

Nana Ama Awi II, Queenmother of Koforidua-Asokore, called for the recognition of traditional authorities in the settlement of marital conflicts under the Bill.

She said in most of the cases arbitrated by traditional authorities, unity returned to families and expressed doubt about the outcome of cases settled by the courts that resulted in bitterness among families.

Nana Frimpong Ware of the National Commission on Culture, said any law affecting the family should take into consideration the culture and religious beliefs of the people to be sustainable.

He explained that laws based on foreign cultures could create problems and unnecessary tension in the society.

Mr Joseph B. Danquah-Adu, Deputy Minister for Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), observed that though the Bill was silent on the role of traditional authorities, it would take care of the concerns of traditional authorities.

He said the Ministry would soon organize workshops on the draft Bill for members of the National House of Chiefs. Ms Joyce Opoku Boateng, Legal advisor of the Women's Department of MOWAC, denied that the bill would cause divisions in society, rather it would assist bring peace into homes but not to punish perpetrators of violence.

Ms Mary Oparebea a citizen of Nsawam, called for the establishment of a fund under the law to support women and children who were victims of domestic violence when the perpetrator of the violence was jailed. She explained that the fund would encourage women subjected to violence and abuse by their husbands to report them to the police.

Mrs Lucy Sarpong-Tuffour, member of the Koforidua branch of the National Hairdressers and Beauticians Association, said the bill should make it a crime for women who enticed married men into relationships to be prosecuted for break-up in marriages.