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Gender Ministry, World Bank Launch ‘Helpline Of Hope’   
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The Ministry for Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP), in collaboration with the World Bank, has launched the “Helpline of Hope Call Centre” in Accra.

This will provide a platform for citizens and the vulnerable in society to express the emotional and physical abuse they face.

The platform will also help to disseminate relevant information to the public in line with the government’s Social Protection (SP) programmes.

Use of technology

The Chief Justice, Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, who launched the centre, said the name “Helpline of Hope” portrayed the motivation and commitment of the ministry to give a voice to the vulnerable in society.

“The safety and privacy of this call centre will guide victims of abuse to make decisions that are right for them, control their emotions and the circumstances which they face and more importantly, provide them with access to justice,” she stated.

She encouraged the ministry to put effort into making optimal use of technology to drive and implement the initiative for it to be recognised as the fundamental step in accessing justice.

“I am particularly pleased with the fact that through the use of the call centre, victims will find legal redress and effective judicial remedies to protect their human rights,” she added

Law enforcement

The chief justice reiterated that perpetrators would be brought to justice by the enforcement of the laws, saying: “This initiative goes a long way to assist our security and law enforcement agencies to arrest and prosecute perpetrators of rape, child trafficking and others with appropriate sentencing, which will further act as a deterrent to others who may consider engaging in such behaviour.”

“It is reassuring to note that the ‘Helpline of Hope’ call centre will offer counselling and psychosocial support to victims of abuse and people with mental health issues,” she added.

Support from stakeholders

For her part, the Gender Minister, Ms Otiko Afisah Djaba, said the ministry was committed to promoting the welfare and rights of children, the vulnerable, persons with disability and the excluded.

She pointed out that it was a great opportunity for individuals who were suffering in silence to come out boldly to report all forms of abuses meted out to them.

“By this, I am not leaving out the boys and men; my only reason for emphasising on the female is that she is the worst affected when it comes to matters of gender-based violence. Women are the most affected victims of female genetal mutilation (FGM), defilement, rape, child marriage, child prostitution, negative widowhood rites, allegations of witchcraft,” she noted.

She, therefore, urged all stakeholders to support the initiative and also asked the media to help educate the public about the centre.

Accessing the call centre

The Director of Social Protection, Dr Rita Owusu-Amankwaah, who gave guidelines on how to access the call centre, said the greater number of calls directed at the ministry on a myriad of issues ranging from human trafficking, all forms of abuse such as rape, domestic violence, child abuse, mental health to hospital bills and school fees, could be effectively dealt with at the centre.

“It is against this background that the ministry sees the establishment of the centre as very timely and essential. Individuals could submit complaints by calling a toll-free number (0800-800-800/ 0800-900-900) attached to the Social Protection (SP) Single Window Citizen Service (SWS). Citizens may submit their complaints by also sending an SMS to the short code 8020. SMS service shall in turn send follow-up questions to which complainants shall respond to. Once completed, the complainant shall receive a case number,” she pointed out.

She added that complaints could also be sent through an email address at [email protected]
Source: Daily Graphic

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