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04.10.2008 Social News

Don't whip children on the hand — Kyei-Gyamfi

By Graphic

Parents and teachers have been advised to desist from whipping the hands of children as a form of punishment.

Research has revealed that children's hands are vulnerable, because the ligaments, nerves, tendons and blood vessels are close to the skin, which has no underlying protective tissue, and, therefore, prone to damage.

The head of Information, Research and Advocacy Division of the Department of Children of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), Mr Sylvester Kyei-Gyamfi, made this known when he presented a paper at a day's workshop in Bolgatanga on violence against children.

“Striking the hands of younger children is very dangerous to the growth plates in the bones, because if they are damaged, they cause deformity or impaired function. It can also cause fractures and dislocation,” he cautioned.

Mr Kyei-Gyamfi also advised against spanking of children. He explained that early childhood development was a very sensitive and critical period in brain development, adding that stress associated with pain and fear emanating from spanking could negatively affect the development and function of a children's brain.

He said spanking also affected learning as children remained in constant fear, making it difficult for them to concentrate the moment caning took place.

Speaking on other forms of child abuse, he quoted a United Nations report, published in October, 2006, which revealed that between 20 and 65 per cent of children of school age, reported having been verbally or physically abused, and that out of 218 million children involved in child labour, 126 million were engaged in hazardous work.

Mr Kyei-Gyamfi said 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 experienced forced sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual violence, while 1.8 million were involved in prostitution and pornography.

The Upper East Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mrs Mariama Yayah, said children were a vulnerable segment of the society who needed to be protected from physical, mental and verbal abuse.

She said any nation that did not make the protection of children its priority was doomed to fail, and therefore, called on parents, teachers and the clergy to help in the fight against child violence in the country.