In spite of the enhanced awareness creation on domestic violence and sexual assault, defilement cases continue to increase.
Statistics from the Accra division of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) indicate that 438 defilement cases were recorded in Accra in 2006, an increase of 38 over the 2005 figures.
However, the division recorded 128 rape cases last year as against the 131 of 2005, while indecent assault cases fell from 77 to 43.
There were 25 attempted rape cases in 2006 as against 15 in 2005, with incest cases dropping from four in 2005 to three last year.
Inspector Irene Oppong, Public Relations Officer of the division, told the Times that the figures for the year would have been higher, but many of the cases were either not reported or settled at home.
She reminded parents that it was an offence to settle sexual assault and other domestic violence cases at home since it amounted to abetment of crime.
She attributed the cause of defilement in the region to the neglect and improper monitoring of children by their parents and guardians, which put the young girls at risk of being sexually assaulted. She therefore urged parents to be always concerned about the whereabouts of their wards.
Inspector Oppong encouraged parents and victims of domestic violence to report such cases to the unit, and gave the assurance that information about victims would continue to be kept strictly confidential to avoid stigmatization.
The prompt reporting of such offences, she said, would enable the police to effectively investigate the matter and seek justice for the victims.