An initial analysis of the cases showed that a lot of them concerned women and children as expected. However, no man who came to the Center was turned away. At the beginning of the Programme, hardly any man showed up. However, over the initial 18 month Programme, the Center recorded 25 male applicants. Out of this number, 15 of them had their cases dealt with. Of the remaining 10, some of them did not qualify for the service since they could obviously afford legal services. Others did not pursue their cases at all.
Conciliation, an important means of dispute settlement, is a major tool in the handling of cases under the Programme. In all cases that come to the Centre, attempts at settlement are made. It is only when settlement fails that resort to the court is made.
Because of the small number of FIDA Ghana members actively involved in the Legal Aid Programme, it has always been a policy to develop a strong support group for the Programme. This has come from a network of legal and medical practitioners, and other professionals such as social workers, psychiatrists, psychologists, the police and other like organizations. These professionals offer their services free of charge.
Over the years the programme has expanded beyond the dreams of its initiators. From a modest beginning in 1985 with 170 cases filed at the center, we had a high of 1787 cases filed in 2001. About 70% of the cases were settled out of court using alternate dispute resolution methods.
In 2002 FIDA-Ghana recorded one thousand three hundred and five thousand cases (1,305) whilst in 2003, one thousand three hundred and two new cases (1,302) was recorded at the centre in Accra. In the year 2004, one thousand three hundred and forty (1,340) complaints were received at the centre. With the establishment of the Domestic Violence and Victims’s Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service, Government institutions like the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Legal Aid Board as well as strengthened networking among allied Non-Governmental Organization partners, service delivery base has been broadened as FIDA is now able to refer specialized cases for redress. This has greatly improved access to justice for women in Ghana.