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06.10.2008 Social News

Laws against child abuse to be strictly enforced

By gna

Child protection laws are to be strictly enforced against adults including parents who abuse children either physically or verbally.

Mr Peter Akyea, Greater-Accra Regional Director of the Department of Children of the Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs said this in a paper he delivered at a Trainer of Trainers workshop on “Child Protection in Conflict Situations” in Ho on Monday.

“The laws are there and would begin to be used against people who defy them.”

He said abuses such as a mother scolding and slapping her daughter for lagging behind when the family was trekking one hot afternoon somewhere in Accra would be punished by the law.
Mr Akyea also gave an example of a man who had employed a minor as a herd boy while his children were in school as infractions that would be punished.

The workshop, one of a series sponsored by UNICEF sought to sensitize the public through child rights groups and other stakeholders on the risks children faced in conflicts situations.

It was attended by members of community child protection committees, representatives of the Ghana Education Service and Social Welfare, among others.

Mr Akyea observed that innocent children always bore the brunt of domestic and conflicts between their parents and armed conflicts.

He said children separated from their parents during conflicts were often sexually abused, trafficked, recruited into armed forces and gangs and drawn or forced into prostitution.

He suggested that children in conflict situations be tagged to make them traceable, that as much as possible those children remained with their parents during emergencies.

Mr Akyea said caregivers should also be trained on how to handle children in conflict and emergency situations and that assembling points be established where such children could congregate so as to mitigate their suffering and danger.