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Graduate Research

Intimate Partner Femicide in Ghana

Lead Researcher: Emmanual Rohn

Photo of Emmanuel Rohn.

Project Description: Although considerable effort has been made in tackling all forms of violence against women in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) including Ghana, the phenomenon persists. Femicide, or the killing of a woman or girl because of her sex/gender by a man (and typically an intimate partner), is  a major cause of early mortality among women and girls around the world. Research on intimate partner femicide (IPF) has received little attention in many world regions, and specifically Ghana, with most studies conducted in western societies. In Ghana, for example, the paucity of scholarly work in this area represents a significant knowledge gap.

To begin to address this gap, this research seeks answers to the following research questions: (1) What are the motivations for IPF from the perspective of perpetrators? (2) How does the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) view existing interventions and gaps in addressing IPF? (3) How do civil societal organizations assess and evaluate the current interventions and gaps in IPF in Ghana? The research employs a qualitative approach to gain a better understanding of IPF.

Addressing the knowledge gaps will contribute to the IPF literature in SSA, including Ghana. By developing a deeper understanding of the perpetrator’s motivation for IPF, this study will assist policy makers to strengthen existing policies and programmes and develop new ones to protect women against intimate femicide. This research will help raise awareness of violent crimes against women, particularly intimate femicide. Moreover, by examining IPF interventions and gaps from the perspective of the DOVVSU and CSOs, the study will provide stakeholders with valuable insights to enhance IPF interventions and initiatives. Additionally, it will assist Domestic violence service providers in developing programs to help the victims’ remaining family members, particularly surviving children (i.e., ‘silent victims). This study also aims to generate a national discourse on protecting women against all forms of violence and addressing the patriarchal ideologies that foster IPF. Moreover, conducting this research within the African context will provide a comparative viewpoint that is necessary for homicide scholars in formulating a cross-cultural theory of lethal violence against women in the Global North and South.

Rohn, E., & Tenkorang, E. Y. (2023). Femicide in Sub-Saharan Africa. In M. Dawson & S. Mobayed (Eds), The Routledge International Handbook on Femicide and Feminicide. (pp. 246-263). Routledge. DOI:10.4324/9781003202332-27

Rohn, E., & Tenkorang, E. Y. (2022). Motivations and barriers to help-seeking among female victims of intimate partner violence in Ghana. Violence against Women, 30(2), 524–550. DOI:10.1177/10778012221137924

Rohn, E., & Tenkorang, E. Y. (2022). Structural and institutional barriers to help-seeking among female victims of intimate partner violence in Ghana. Journal of Family Violence, 38(5), 815–827. DOI:10.1007/s10896-022-00433-2

Tenkorang, E. Y., Zaami, M., Kimuna, S., Owusu, A. Y., & Rohn, E. (2021). Help-seeking behaviours of male survivors of intimate partner violence in Kenya. Journal of Family Issues, 44(1), 187–202. DOI:10.1177/0192513X211042847

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