American Relief Centers
Since its inception, American Relief Centers have taken successful initiatives to combat violence
and remove bottlenecks in achieving a violent-free society for women and children.
American Relief Centers (ARC) facilitates the quest for justice by victims of abuse.
When approached for assistance, we pay for the initial police medical report forms and for the
medical examination itself. We then provide continued support by offering essential
transportation to and from courts, police stations and hospitals, and pay for all treatment costs.
American Relief Centers provides temporary shelter for victims of abuse and their
families who do not feels safe in their environment.
American Relief Centers takes action to prevent future incidents of violence and abuse.
Studies show that classes in verbal and physical self-defense skills dramatically reduced the rate at which girls were raped. Our S.A.F.E. program (Sensitization Awareness Fundamental Education) provides self-defense training for females in schools and sensitization for the boys, the first training of its kind to be taught in Ghana. S.A.F.E. is accessible four- hour self-defense course, which is included in the school curriculum for at least a term. If females have the opportunity to learn self-defense in school, coupled with confidence of knowing of their individual rights, they can gain the ability to protect themselves an overcome and attacker. Repetitive exposure will also heighten their
awareness and empower them to be stakeholders in the fight against violence.
The primary objectives for the establishment of the organization are:
-To help victims of physical and sexual abuse, specifically women and children, to seek
justice in the courts.
-To provide post-sexual assault care, which includes medical examination and
psychotherapy, for victims of abuse, specifically women and children.
-To provide temporary shelter to victims of abuse who do not feel safe in their localities.
-To assist victim and families through court process with legal aid from our team
-To teach female students self-defense training, equipping them with techniques to
defend themselves when they are trapped in a sexual abuse situation.
-To teach the next generation of boys to be responsible citizens in helping ensure women and children are protected. Studies show that boys who go through training are more likely to intervene when witnessing a girl being assaulted.
Removing Barriers that hinders victims to seek justice: We acknowledge the challenges victims
of abuse, mostly those who straddle the bottom of the social ladder, have to surmount before they
are able to seek justice for heinous crimes and dehumanization they are subjected to. We
understand that for successful prosecution, victims must have a police medical report performed,
whose cost ranges between 250-400 Cedis ($60 to $90) and often deters victims to continue with report or litigation. Our organization offers victims the finances to do so.
Upon being notified by the police (DOVVSU) of a women or child in need, a staff from our organization quickly proceeds to the police station. The staff then transports the alleged victim to a medical facility for the alleged victim to receive medical examination, along with any medical treatment needed, with the cost fully and solely born by our organization.
Victims are escorted to the courts by our staff at every court hearing. Consequently, the burden of financing their transport to police station, court, and hospital is eliminated since the organization caters for it. To ensure that victims are not demoralized and dissuaded to truncate litigation, when certain unexpected costs, such as age assessments tests and DNA tests, which are ordered by the courts, arise during trial, the organization fully pays for this, too. Tellingly, the foregoing serves as a great incentive for victims to pursue justice and eliminates out-of-court settlement for rape and defilement, otherwise known as "blood money".
Victims are also offered post-sexual assault care, which involves psychotherapy/counselling.
Self-Defense Training: Our staff having undergone training by world renowned self-defense
training experts, Sheila Haddad and Gillian Booth, from U.S.A and Australia respectively, we
partner with Ghana Education Service, to train school girls in their school premises in self-
defense. This is a novelty in the country. The self-defense training is designed such that young
girls will no longer leave it to fate when they come face-to-face with a sexual predator. They are
equipped with techniques to fight the sexual abuser, regardless of his stature or strength. The
training is structured into three parts:
Education: This includes teaching them what the laws on abuse are in Ghana, defining what
constitutes abuse, especially the distinction between rape and defilement. We use the avenue to
make a compelling case on the need for participants to report and expose perpetrators.
Reinforcing the need for exposure, we argue that it helps for perpetrators to be fished out and pay
for their crimes (arraigning them before court and serving jail terms if found guilty). Undeniably,
we have a relatively safe community because a criminal has been taken out. It also carries the
ripple effect of serving as deterrence for other harboring same thoughts. Also, participants are
taught how to preserve evidence from sexual abuse scenes and the necessary protocols to adhere
to if unfortunately they fall victim to sexual abuse.
Assertive Communication Skills: Participants are taught how to show strong disapproval,
without any guilt when they are being touched in a manner they do not approve. It is impressed
upon them that their body is solely owned by them; hence no one has no right to touch them if
they do not approve, regardless of the person – be it their parents or guardian. Just as they will
not beg someone not to take an item belonging to them, in the same manner, they should not beg
or apologetically Say ‘No’ or ‘STOP’ to someone who wants to make sexual advances which
they do not approve.
Physical skills: The importance of equipping oneself with self-defense techniques is explained
to participants. They can no more leave their lives to fate when they find themselves in a
sexually abusive situation. Since no one would want to fall prey to any sexual predator, it is
expedient for them to have some techniques which they use to defend themselves from these
predators, regardless of their height or stature. We take them through some self-defense
techniques which include; throat jab, raking an attackers eyes with the fingers, head butt, kicking
an attacker in the groin.
Sensitization Awareness Fundamental Education: We organize seminars for girls in their
various schools and churches to sensitize them and heighten their awareness on abuse which is
prevalent in their societies. The avenue is used to conscientize them on their rights. We are also
called upon as Resource Personnel to participate in programmes/seminars organized by Ghana
Education Service for their Girl Child Coordinators.
Temporary Accommodation: We have two shelters in Kumasi and Tema which provides the
temporary accommodation for women, girls, and boys below nine years. The shelters is designed
to accommodate – temporarily - victims of abuse, whose security is suspect in their current
environment, pending resolution of their cases by the appropriate institutions – Police, Social
Welfare, and Courts. Admissions in to the shelter are predominantly through Social Welfare, and
in some instances, police and courts. Although the shelter is for abuse victims, on humanitarian
grounds and as far as permissible, insofar as there is no breach of law, we take missing and
abandon children, who are brought to the organization by Department of Social Welfare and
Police. As an organizational policy, residents at the shelter, whom it is likely will stay more than
three weeks due to the nature of their case, are immediately enrolled in school upon arrival.
Family Tracing/Follow-ups: Upon admitting missing children into our shelter, our staff
immediately start tracing family of these children, reunite and reintegrate them with their
families and communities at large. This is done in conjunction with Department of Social
Welfare. Departure of children from our shelter does not terminate our relationship with them.
We follow-up on these children to ensure that they are safe and have not returned to
circumstances which culminated to their admission at our shelter. The frequency of visits/follow-
up is dependent on the nature of the case.
Since the inception of our self-defense our self-defense training programme, in 212
schools in Ghana, we have trained 8617 teenage girls, in Tema and Kumasi. Also 14,093
male and female students have participated in our Self Awareness Fundamental Education Seminars, which were organized by our team in Tema and Kumasi. We can confidently say that these
girls, know their rights, know when they are being abused, and are in a
better standing to protect themselves against sexual attackers/predators.