Coordinating Director of DOVVSU, Chief Supt. Owusuaa Kyeremeh

Coordinating Director of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) Chief Supt. Owusuaa Kyeremeh has cautioned parents that threats to deprive their children food and shelter as punishment, is criminal.

“The threat of harm is misdemeanor and harm itself is a great felony, hence jailable to serve a term of 3-10 years,” she explained.

Contributing to the topic, Domestic Violence: How to get help, on JoyNews’ The Law Sunday, she stated that such threats make children anxious, unhappy and affects the state of their health negatively.

“In cases where the children are not allowed to sleep at home but allowed to sleep outside as a form of punishment. When you are in a compound house and you see a parent doing that, it means the child is being abused because no matter what the child has done or has not done the child is entitled to shelter, it’s the child’s right like any other human being.

Speaking with host Samson Lardy Anyenini, Ms Kyeremeh said although parents equally have rights to punish children for ill behaviors, withholding food and shelter is out of the question.

“You put the child in an anxious situation, in that instance once you say look, because of what you have done you are not going to eat, I am going to keep you out of the house so you are not going to sleep.

“Between the time you said that and evening the person will be anxious and uncomfortable. They ask themselves, where am I going to stay, in case it rains this evening.

“When you see a child being denied food because he stole or she stole meat from soup, it’s a sign of abuse,” she stressed.

“You don’t need a lot of acts to constitute domestic violence, just an act is enough,” she added.

The Coordinating Director further explained that victims of such abuses can be compensated for damages caused by the accused if successful in a criminal suit.

“The court, in ruling a criminal case can also order for compensation to be paid to the survivor,” she stated.

The domestic violence menace has claimed many lives in Ghana and across the globe. The 2016 Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) report on domestic violence reveals that 10.6 per cent of women and 9.5 per cent men, encounter domestic violence annually.