ActionAid Ghana, an affiliate of ActionAid, a global justice Federation working to achieve social justice, gender equality and poverty eradication, has commended the Ghana Police Service for its swift response in an alleged sexual harassment case involving a police officer in Sunyani in the Bono region.
In a statement dated December 13, 2021, the NGO said it “wishes to commend the Ghana Police Service for taking swift actions to ensure the law is enforced and safety of Ghanaians especially women is protected.”
ActionAid has been working to promote elimination of violence against women through its Zero Violence project.
It is reported that a police officer stationed with the Sunyani Police Command while on a night patrols duties sexually assaulted a female student of University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), near the Fiapre roundabout in the Bono Region.
The accused police officer is alleged to have repeatedly touched the thighs of the victim of which a video of the incident has since gone viral.
Following the viral video, the said police officer involved in the act has been arrested and charged by the Bono Regional Police Command and since been processed for court.
Below is ActionAid’s statement
Alleged Assault by a Police Officer in Sunyani (Accra, Monday, December 13, 2021) – ActionAid Ghana has been keenly following proceedings on the alleged sexual harassment case involving a police officer in Sunyani in the Bono region and wishes to commend the Ghana Police Service for taking swift actions to ensure the law is enforced and safety of Ghanaians especially women is protected.
As an organisation that has been working over the last 30 years to eliminate violence against women and protect women from sexual harassment and assault, we believe that this alleged breach of Sections 84 and 103 of the Criminal Offences Act 29, which deals with assault and indecent assault respectively, should be pursued with all seriousness and alacrity.
We have analysed statistics from the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DoVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service which indicates that as of August 2021, 31.9% of women have faced at least one form of domestic violence -physical, economic, psychological, social or sexual. These statistics are alarming and are indicative of the worrying prevalence of violence against women in the country.
John Nkaw, Acting Country Director said, “ActionAid Ghana is concerned about the increasing rate of violence, harassment and assault against women and girls.
It is even more worrying that such incidences are sometimes perpetrated by officers who are mandated to protect people and indeed should be the vanguard of the on-going campaign against sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence.”
Again, it is unfortunate that this case has been recorded at a time that the world is observing this year’s 16-Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence.
This incident of alleged sexual harassment and assault involving the police officer is a classic example of why the government of Ghana who is a member of the International Labour Orgnanisation (ILO) needs to take immediate steps to ratify the ILO Convention 190 which seeks to end violence and harassment in the world of work.
“We believe that Convention 190 which is a first international treaty to recognize the right of everyone to a world of work free from violence and harassment, including gender-based violence and harassment will provide better protection for Ghanaians and address the gaps in some of the country’s existing legislative and policy frameworks on violence and harassment.”
ActionAid is therefore calling on all women’s rights advocates, rightsholders and the Ghana Police Service to ensure that justice on this case is duly served.