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Domestic Violence against Women

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

A Comparative Analysis Of Domestic Violence Against Women In Ghana And Uk

Abstract

Domestic Violence in the UK is widely recognised, accepted, dealt with as an issue. However in Ghana, due to illiteracy, culture, domestic violence is widely not recognised as an issue. There are no measures in place by the government to tackle the issue. The following aims to give a comparative analysis of domestic violence in women in the UK as against women in Ghana. Secondary reports from the police, Charities (NGOs), journals and newspaper issues were used in doing this analysis. Results showed that cases of domestic violence against women in the UK were widespread. There is a social services structure to deal with these issues. Children who are indirectly or directly affected by domestic violence can be identified in most cases and are offered any help or necessary treatment. In Ghana, there are many cultural barriers to first of all getting the message of domestic violence across and secondly being accepted as an infringement of human rights. There are no social structures in place to help these women. NGOs are the equivalent to social services in the UK, but cannot/are not as proactive. They rely on women coming forward and do not/cannot carry out investigations on suspicion of domestic violence. Children, who are directly or indirectly affected, tend to pass through unnoticed. This is due to the fact that culturally, children must be seen and not heard. In other cases, children’s accounts are not believed over the older person out of cultural respect for the adult; such a thing would be considered a taboo. In conclusion, the social workers involvement in women affected by DV and any related children are far more extensive than any involvement in Ghana. All in all, Ghana has a lot to learn and possibly implement in order to tackle the issue of domestic violence in women and children.

Introduction

This study will look at a comparative of Domestic Violence, hereon referred to as DV, in women in two different countries, Ghana and the UK. I chose to compare these two countries first and foremost because I’m a Ghanaian and secondly because I have lived in both countries and currently studying social work in the UK. I have come to know of the social workers involvement with women plagued by DV. I will also include a little on the effect DV has on children in these two countries. It is my intention through this study, to highlight the perception and differences of DV between the two countries and to study the impact of social work(ers) in dealing with DV in these countries.

In order to get a better understanding of how DV is perceived in the two countries, I would like to talk about the Demographics focusing on the culture and social standing of Ghana.

Ghana Demographics

Ghana is a country found in West Africa, located on the Gulf and Guinea and is a few degrees north of the equator, giving it a warm climate. It spans 238, 535 square km and has a population of about 23 million as of 2007. Colonised back in the days by the British, the national language of the land has remained as English till this day.

However, out of it’s ten recognised regions or counties, Ghana has more than 250 indigenous languages spoken. Within these regions and languages, many dialects and cultures also exist. Each ethnic group has it’s culture and each culture has a way of life. Ghanaians are generally peace loving people. Tradition plays a very important part of the Ghanaians life right from birth (naming and dedication ceremonies), through to Puberty (initiation rites), to marriage (traditional marriage) and death (funeral rites). The legal system however, is a mixture of British law, applicable to criminal cases, and indigenous custom for civil cases. Civil cases that concern customary matters, such as land, inheritance, and marriage, are usually heard by a traditional chief. People are generally wary of the judicial system, which can involve substantial costs and unpredictable outcomes. They usually attempt to handle infractions and resolve disputes informally through personal appeal and mediation. Strong extended family ties tend to exercise a restraint on deviant behavior, and family meetings are often called to settle problems before they become public. Marital disputes are normally resolved by having the couple meet with the wife’s uncle or father, who will take on the role of a marriage counsellor and reunite the parties. As culture and traditional customs play a large role, they go along way in defining or influencing acceptance of DV in the Ghanaian society as we shall explore later.

Ghana is a low income country with a per capital GDP of only $400 (U.S.) per year. It has many economic and social problems especially in the areas of employment, housing, health, and sanitation. Ghana has an active Non governmental Organization (NGO) sector, with over 900 registered organizations that participate in welfare and development projects in health, education, micro financing, women’s status, family planning, child care, and numerous other areas. The longest standing groups have been church-based organizations and the Red Cross. Most are supported by foreign donors. Urban voluntary associations, such as ethnic and occupational unions, also offer important social and economic assistance. The family unit is regarded as an important structure of the community and is held in high regard.


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