4, May, 2017
BRIEF

Beyond the laws to action on Domestic Violence: Lessons for Ghana from Mexico

This policy brief seeks to explain the difference the in implementation service provision for survivors of domestic abuse in two countries that passed domestic violence legislation in 2007: Ghana and Mexico. The key difference between the two countries lies in the nature of the women’s caucus in parliament.

Both Ghana and Mexico passed domestic violence legislation in 2007. Yet, a decade later, Ghana has only one functioning shelter owned and run by an NGO and another run by the State. Services in these two shelters are generally ad-hoc and uncoordinated. Mexico, on the other hand, has many more shelters – 72 in all – and a coordinated system of service provision for survivors of domestic abuse. In seeking to explain these differences in implementation, a study conducted by the Centre for Gender Studies and Advocacy (CEGENSA) in Ghana and FUNDAR in Mexico found that a key difference between the two countries lies in the nature of the women’s caucus in parliament. While Mexico has a system where the women in parliament have entered into a pact to vote as a unit on women-friendly policies, Ghana has a women’s caucus that leaves issues of policy concern to women to the Gender and Children’s Committee of Parliament. In this policy brief, CEGENSA makes a number of recommendations directed at enhancing the likelihood that policies aimed at tackling domestic violence will be implemented in the Ghanaian context.

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Key Lessons:

  • The Women’s Caucus of Parliament should formalise its activities with the creation of a fully functioning Secretariat.
  • The Women’s Caucus of Parliament should work more closely with the Gender and Children’s Committee of Parliament and work to strengthen their cross-party support of issues of concern to Ghanaian women.
  • Active civil society support and programming is needed for an increase in the number of women in parliament.
  • There should be civil society support for the work of the women’s caucus through its advocacy and capacity building efforts.
  • There is need for activism around domestic violence and the provision of shelters with requisite services to support survivors.

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