The African Women Lawyers Association (AWLA) has raised concern about the rise in cases of sexual and domestic violence in the country following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Association’s Executive Director, Edna Kuma in a signed statement on Thursday called for justice for one Lilian Amenuku Dedjo who was allegedly assaulted by her husband, Prince Charles Dedjoe, and died.

Although Madam Kuma commended the Ghana Police Service (GPS) for swiftly arresting the deceased’s husband, she urged that necessary steps needs to be taken to prosecute him.

For her, the perpetrator in the deceased’s case must not go unpunished to serve as a deterrent to others.

“We call on the Ghana Police Service to ensure a speedy investigation into the death of Lilian to ensure that justice is served. We [also] call on all who have information that may help the Police conduct a detailed investigation into the matter to step forward and assist.

“AWLA is confident the Police would conclude their investigations speedily, reveal the cause of death and commence prosecution based on their findings. We would closely watch brief once the prosecution of the matter begins. We call for justice for Lillian and we would monitor the matter till justice is seen to be done in this matter,” she stated.

Moreover, the legal practitioner admonished women to resist any form of domestic violence by seeking help from the appropriate authorities before it is late.

According to her, assaults on vulnerable persons, particularly women have far-reaching implications on the socio-economic development of the country as such, must not be tolerated.

African Women Lawyers Association worried about spike in domestic violence, calls for justice

“We are gravely concerned about the implications of the increased spate of domestic violence against females in the country post-Covid-19 lockdown and the issue has become one that cannot be overlooked and needs to be urgently addressed.

“We call on  women suffering in abusive relationships to take action by reporting such incidents to the Police, getting support from us and other like-minded NGO’s/CSO’s. We implore you, call the Ghana Police Service, AWLA, FIDA, ARK FOUNDATION, your local church, family and friends. Please reach out and talk to someone about this and ask for help,” she urged.

Furthermore, the Association called on relevant stakeholders including the Gender Ministry and Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) to carry out an intense sensitisation programme to curb the growing menace.

She also asked that laws governing domestic violence should be tightened to deal with perpetrators.

“The death of Lilian reinforces the need for sustained advocacy on the elimination of all forms of violence against women and children now It is horrific to live in a society that cannot guarantee the safety of women and children in their own homes and alarming to observe the impunity with which perpetrators of abuse continue their wicked acts of violence to the point of death. Certainly such acts must not go unpunished and justice has to be served quickly to avoid denial of same.

“For Lilian, her children, family, friends and all women in Ghana, the 6thh of March 2021 has taken on new meaning which in no way reaffirms the “freedom” resultant from our independence won in 1957. AWLA believes and demands that “justice” would however not be denied and the matter would be fully prosecuted in accordance with law to give hope to survivors and to send a strong message of zero tolerance for abuse no matter the setting,” she said.