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Domestic Violence in Ghana: The Open Secret


Nancy Chi Cantalupo


Georgetown University Law Center; Victim Rights Law Center

Lisa V. Martin


Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law

Kay Pak


HSBC Bank USA

Sue Shin


DSE, Inc.

September 13, 2010

Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, Vol. 7, 2006
Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 10-56

Abstract:     
This report discusses the findings of a Georgetown Law International Women’s Human Rights Clinic fact-finding team that traveled to Ghana, Africa in March 2003 to investigate domestic violence. The report reviews the contours of the domestic violence problem in Ghana and outlines the ways in which Ghanaian law and procedure was insufficiently addressing the problem at the time. Its chief findings include that the Ghanaian laws existing in 2003 inadequately punished perpetrators and protected victims of domestic violence and that court and police enforcement of the existing law was lacking, including because the government was allowing the removal of domestic violence cases from the legal system in favor of formal and informal mediation. Accordingly, the report concludes with recommendations that Ghana pass specific domestic violence legislation (already before Parliament at the time the report was written), that Ghana adopt procedures for screening cases involving domestic violence out of various dispute resolution processes involving mediation (a draft screening mechanism was appended to the report), and that Ghana build the capacity of law enforcement to deal with domestic violence cases (proposed police procedures were also appended). (Postscript: specific domestic violence legislation was subsequently passed in Ghana in 2007.)

Number of Pages in PDF File: 68

Keywords: domestic violence, Ghana, mediation, women’s rights, fact-finding

JEL Classification: K00, K32, K33, K40

Accepted Paper Series





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Date posted: September 14, 2010 ; Last revised: April 16, 2012

Suggested Citation

Cantalupo, Nancy Chi and Martin, Lisa V. and Pak, Kay and Shin, Sue, Domestic Violence in Ghana: The Open Secret (September 13, 2010). Georgetown Journal of Gender and the Law, Vol. 7, 2006; Georgetown Public Law Research Paper No. 10-56. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1676454

Contact Information

Nancy Chi Cantalupo (Contact Author)
Georgetown University Law Center ( email )
600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States
Victim Rights Law Center ( email )
18 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.victimrights.org/about-vrlc/staff-bios
Lisa V. Martin
Catholic University of America (CUA) - Columbus School of Law ( email )
3600 John McCormack Rd., NE
Washington, DC 20064
United States
Kay Pak
HSBC Bank USA ( email )
452 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 100018
United States
Sue Shin
DSE, Inc. ( email )
Tampa, FL
United States
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