ANTI-VIOLENCE SHELTER PROJECT IN GHANA
The Ark’s Shelter continues to receive support from the Global Giving initiative, philanthropic acts and other corporate support to ensure the total well being of victims and survivors of violence. The common forms of abuse usually reported are domestic violence, sexual abuse, neglect, harmful customary practices and parental non-maintenance.
There are several professionals offering assistance and support at every point of the helping process, ready to listen and offer support right from the initial in take of client’s story, through assessment, counseling and admission to the shelter. There are several professionals who offer assistance to client through the helping process. These professionals are always ready to listen and offer support right from the initial in take of client’s story, through assessment, counseling and finally admission to the shelter if the need be.
Most of these survivors are women who have suffered various forms of abuse together with their children who walk in by themselves or are referred from other agencies to access services
The Ark takes on abused mothers along with their children who may not be directly abused in to the shelter in the absence of any other alternative.
Report on activities from July to October 2012
From July to October, the project has attended to over three hundred (300) cases, forty six (46) of whom were admitted at the project Shelter and provided with the needed shelter care services.
Thirty-four (34) of the admitted clients have since been discharged.
During their stay at the Shelter, almost all the clients were sent for medical check ups and treatment at the regional Hospital in Koforidua. However, one of these clients who required intensive medical assistance due to a heart condition was transferred to the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for specialized care, after being hospitalized for over two weeks at the regional hospital.
Six of the teenage children discharged have been put in school while four of the young mothers have been financially supported to embark on petty trades of their choice.
The project also referred some of the clients seeking legal and medical services and other services to like minded organizations for the requisite services. A number of sensitizations were held in five neighboring schools and three religious women associations to educate them on topics such as child rights, women’s rights and relevant laws among others to compliment the services offered to victims of sexual and gender based violence and child abuse
A client’s story
This story is a typical example of how victims feel before and after crisis intervention.
(Client’s name has been changed for the purposes of confidentiality).
Maame, a fifteen year old girl was admitted at the Shelter after a defilement incident perpetrated by their cotenants; a father and his two sons.
Client alleged she was first defiled by the oldest of the three, who happens to be the father of the other two perpetrators. She was hungry and needed food to go to school so she decided to ask for support from the lead Perpetrator (father) since she some times run errands for him. Perpetrator (father) offered client three Ghana cedis (GHC 3.00) in exchange for sex and thereafter continued severally after the first incident with threats of death if client ever reveals his nefarious act.
His other two sons who had been secretly observing their father’s illicit acts also took turns to defile client with threats to inform her parents if she denies them. Client who was so naïve endured all this until her sister noticed she was pregnant.
At the time of report, client and her family had not made any official report at the police neither had she been sent for medical care and treatment.
She was quickly referred to the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, where her statement was taken and a medical form issued for medical examination and a doctor’s report to proof that she has been defiled
Only one (since the other two were on the run) of the Perpetrators was arrested and remanded.
Due to the community stigma after the official report of the case, DOVVSU referred the child for shelter and they filed the case in court.
Since the medical check revealed she was almost five months pregnant, The Ark supported client to start her monthly ante-natal sessions as the case continues at the court.
She was arranged for several clinical sessions with a therapist, to regain her self-esteem as she continues to receive counseling from the professionals at the Shelter.
At the time of delivery this October, there had been three progressive hearings on her case. The lead Perpetrator has been asked to produce his two sons who were on the run before the next hearing.
Maame and her baby girl are being cared for at The Ark’s Shelter as we wait for the results of the next proceedings
Maame hopes to go back to school to sit for her Basic Education Certificate Examination, to enable her pursue higher heights.
Maame believes her dream of success will materialize despite the anticipated set backs. But without continual support from kind hearted people such as you, this dream will not be a reality.
The Ark is still implementing the project, and so far can confidently say that our clients are largely satisfied with the quality and range of services we offer within our integrated approach which includes Shelter and re-settlement and support services; thumbs up to our supporters/donors whose contributions are funding this project.
This question goes to our supporters: Please tell us what you think about our project? Are there any ways we can work together to attract wider support? We wish to use this opportunity to thank our supporters for making this possible.