Jour fixe: Presentations by AAA Fellows

Tuesday, 15. October 2019
15:15 – 16:45

Y 326


Hamadjam Abboubakar (Mathematics and Statistics, Cameroon)
Denisha Gounden (Chemistry, Soth Africa)
Abena Yalley (Gender Studies, Nigeria)

Abena´s talk is entitled "Police interventions in domestic violence: A cure or a curse for battered women in Southern Ghana and Lagos Nigeria".

Domestic Violence (DV) is a precarious social problem found across all strata of society worldwide. A major effort to curb this menace was the criminalisation of domestic violence and the involvement of police in handling DV cases. However, considering the patriarchal and masculinised culture of policing in Africa, there is a huge debate surrounding the effectiveness of police interventions for African women which requires comprehensive investigation. Previous studies concentrated on the rate of DV reports to police with little consideration to victims’ need. This study was, therefore, designed to examine the ways in which police intervention strategies in domestic violence met the needs of female victims in Southern Ghana and Lagos State. A total of 6 DV police units in Ghana and Nigeria were purposively selected as case studies. In-depth interviews were conducted with 100 victims, 30 police officers, four social workers in the two countries under study. Participant observation was also undertaken in the Police Stations and law courts in both countries. The study found that police interventions in the two countries were mostly effective in stopping the initial abuse reported, but exposed victims to psychological and economic abuse. Ghana Police focused on prosecution, which proved effective in deterring offenders, while Nigeria Police focused on reconciliation, which preserved family relationship but aggravated revictimisation. Victims’ needs included psychosocial support, shelter, justice, medical aid, security and financial empowerment. Psychosocial support was least met in Ghana, while in Nigeria justice was least met. Corruption in the two police institutions impeded victims’ access to justice and impoverished them. Police intervention strategies were therefore ineffective in meeting most of victims’ needs, which created a cycle of violence and hopelessness for victims in Southern Ghana and Lagos. Government should restructure Domestic Violence units to include psychologists and social workers to provide a comprehensive approach in handling this problem.