Bibiani (WN/R),- The Chief Justice (CJ), Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, has expressed concern about rising and disturbing cases of gender-based violence in the country.
The Chief Justice said the country, in 2020, recorded 5,231 cases of assault, 1,047 cases of defilement and 1,548 cases of non-maintenance and provision of basic life needs.
Mr Anin-Yeboah, therefore, called for a corporate effort against gender-based violence and asked for support from every stakeholder institution.
He urged traditional leaders, religious groups and elders of society to desist from hearing cases of such nature at the traditional or family levels and allowed the law to take its course.
The Chief Justice raised the concerns when he inaugurated a Child Friendly-Gender based Violence Court at Bibiani, in the Bibiani-Anwiaso-Bekwai Municipality of the Western North Region.
Mr Anin-Yeboah said the rising rates of crime perpetrated against children over the last few years had called for a review of priorities of the judiciary system.
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the UN agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide, refurbished the Bibiani Circuit Court to make it child friendly, fitted with CCTV cameras, as well as a play room.
Mr Anin-Yeboah explained the introduction of the child-friendly concept with the help of UNICEF in 2016 and the child-friendly model were necessary to provide a conducive atmosphere for the child “who is in contact with the law either as a victim, witness or offender to render accurate testimony without fear or intimidation.”
This approach has been endorsed to reduce the trauma of the trial process on the child and promote the rendering of accurate evidence, which is crucial to the successful adjudication of a case.
To ensure justice is made accessible to all, the Chief Justice said UNICEF had additionally supported the judicial service to establish eight Child-Friendly Gender-Based Violence Courts and two Child-Friendly Juvenile Courts in Accra.
Mr Anin-Yeboah thanked UNICEF for supporting the service in implementing such a laudable initiative, saying “your continued support is certainly impacting on quality justice delivery and we are indeed grateful”.
Miss Hilda Mensah, the Child Protection Specialist, said UNICEF had rehabilitated 18 out of the 72 Circuit Courts in the country to make them child friendly.
Ms Mensah stated the right of children to be heard was generally flouted, which prevented them from voicing their concerns or experiences.
She called on institutions, families and communities to help build the life skills and capacity of adolescent people to enhance their resilience towards sexual harms and exploitations.
Justice Patrick Bayeh, the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo Regional Supervising High Court Judge, advised the communities to use the court to access justice delivery.
Source: Ghana News Agency