4th December 2018 - The Judicial Service of Ghana with support from UNICEF is inaugurating the first Child friendly court in Ghana. The Court which is situated within the Gender Based Violence Courts is aimed at addressing the needs of children using more age appropriate procedures and tools.
The child-friendly court includes facilities such as the waiting room designed to provide a friendly environment to child victims, witnesses and children who for other reasons come into contact with the law. The facility is furnished with necessary technical equipment, CCTV, a small library, toys, information, as well as literature on child protection for psychologists, lawyers, support persons and parents.
The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) annual report reveals that there are more than 1,300 defilement cases each year.
The establishment of the court will be coupled with child-sensitive training of judges and court staff in handling children’s cases and specific provisions to protect children in contact with the law. The development of Standard Operating procedures for managing the child friendly court. The SOP will among other things prevent child victims from having to face perpetrators physically during trial and minimise trauma of victims who come to court for the first time.
The Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) annual report reveals that there are more than 1,300 defilement cases each year. This calls for an urgent action to address the protection needs of victims and allow for their participation in the trial process and ultimately improve their access to justice.
Currently the Court is adult-oriented as it was intended to serve adults who come into contact with the law. The inauguration of a child-friendly court is novel. DANIDA is supporting the Judicial Service to scale up the court to remaining nine regions of Ghana. In addition to technical assistance from UNICEF, the government of Canada has provided financial assistance to the creation of the child-friendly court.
Today’s inauguration of Ghana’s first child friendly court within a Gender Based Violence court reflects a collective commitment to promote a system that is sensitive to the plights of women and children, especially those who have suffered abuse. It is happening at a time when we are observing the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence. The establishment of the first child friendly court is a critical and concrete step that contributes to ending violence and abuse.
UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org.