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19.10.2005 Crime & Punishment

Aggravated offence not chargeable under Domestic Violence law -Tarkie

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Ashaiman, Oct. 19, GNA - Any domestic aggravated offence will not be charged under the Domestic Violence Bill, when passed into law. Such offences will be charged under the criminal code, which attract harsher punishment, while other domestic offences that are seem to be disturbing, either attract three years imprisonment or a penalty of 500 units, Mr Henry Tarkie, of the Attorney General's Department of the Ministry of Justice disclosed on Tuesday. Mr Tarkie, who was speaking on the Domestic Violence Bill at a forum organised by the Domestic Violence Coalition in collaboration with Ibis Ghana, for residents of Ashaiman said offences such as assault, resulting in injury, noise making and harassment attract different charges.

He said Ghana has committed herself to the rule of law and seeks to protect the weak in society, so the bill, if passed into law is not meant to change our society structure but provide remedy for the aggrieved persons.

Explaining why women and children are more considered in the bill, the official pointed out that Ghana was a signatory to a number of United Nations conventions, which seek to protect the rights of women and children, so it was expedient that they were given the privilege. On the arrest of an offender, Mr Tarkie said the responsibility lies with the police, however, the individuals could also effect an arrest but it should be done with outmost care, so they do not expose themselves to harm.

Talking on "Domestic Violence in Ghana and its Impact", Mr Adolf Awuku Bekoe, Coordinator of the Domestic Violence Coalition called on the government to expedite action on the passage of the bill into law. According to him, reports reaching their outfit show overwhelming support from people, who think its passage has delayed unduly. He explained that domestic violence is not limited to the physical aspect alone, since one could harassed psychologically or emotionally that can lead to health problem. During an open forum, some of the participants think the bill was biased towards only women and children and prayed that there could be a review to favour men as well.