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14.05.2007 General News

High medical bills prevent rape case investigations

By The Ghanaian Times

The inability of victims of defilement and rape to pay ¢200,000 at health facilities in the Upper West Region for medical reports is frustrating police investigations into such cases.

Many culprits of such crimes are often let off the hook because victims who report such cases and are given police medical forms to go to hospital for medical examination do not return because they cannot afford the medical fee of ¢200,000.

The Head of the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit, Alex Amenya, disclosed this at a meeting of the Regional Multi-Sectoral Committee on Child Welfare and Protection on Thursday, May 10, 2007.

The committee is made up of departments, agencies and civil society organisations whose activities are geared towards the protection, promotion and general welfare of the child.

The Department of Children's Affairs has oversight responsibility of the activities of the committee.

Mr. Amenya explained that medical reports on reported cases of defilement and rape are vital to police investigations because they determine to a large extend, which prima facie case should be established against the suspect.

"Without medical report on such cases police investigations are crippled," he added.

Mr. Amenya said unless something was done about the high medical fees, protecting the interest of victims of defilement would be difficult, adding that poverty should not be an obstacle to seeking justice.

The Regional Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Lawrence Azam, told the meeting that many day care centres in the Wa Municipality are overcrowded and operate under conditions not conducive to the upbringing of the child.

Mr. Azam said his outfit had advised proprietors and proprietresses to take steps to improve conditions in their centres or his outfit would have them closed down.

The Regional Director of the Department of Children, Annaclete Naab, called for co-operation among child care institutions to enhance the protection of children.

Source: The Ghanaian Times