The Health-related Impacts and Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls on Survivors, Households and Communities in Ghana

Authored by: Gina Alvarado, Ama P. Fenny, and Samuel Dakey

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Economic Participation, Human Development, Post-Conflict Reconstruction, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Country: Ghana
Region: Sub-Saharan Africa
Year: 2018
Citation: Fenny, Ama P. "The Health-related Impacts and Costs of Violence against Women and Girls on Survivors, Households and Communities in Ghana." Journal of Public Health in Africa. 2018.

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Past research on violence in Ghana primarily discusses domestic violence and some types of sexual violence, but lacks a comprehensive analysis of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and its wider costs and impacts. Our study on the social costs of VAWG is a unique contribution, which aims to fill that gap. Through in depth interviews (IDIs) and focus group discussions (FGDs) with adult women and men, we explored the health impact of VAWG and the resulting social and economic consequences on survivors, their families and their communities. The research, which took place in the Eastern, Central, and Greater Accra regions of Ghana, points to several physical and mental health outcomes among survivors including physical injuries and disability, as well as impacts on mental health such as anxiety and suicidal ideation. Many VAWG survivors also experience stigma and social isolation. Our findings also reveal that survivors’ families can bear various social and economic costs. Lack of public and private service provision and shelters for survivors heighten these impacts. Without institutional support for survivors, families and communities absorb these costs of VAWG.