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28.02.2005 General News

WAJU: Violence, abuse of rights of women and children high

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Accra, Feb. 28, GNA - The Women and Juvenile Unit (WAJU) of the Ghana Police last month recorded over 300 cases of various forms of violence and human rights abuses meted against women and children, a senior officer of the unit said on Monday.

The various forms of crime included 162 cases of assault, 28 defilement cases, 25 cases of threatening, 14 rape cases, 11 abductions, 13 cases of failing to supply basic necessities of health and life, five indecent assault cases, five cases of exposing child to harm, three attempted abortions, two criminal abortions and 13 cases of offensive conduct.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Sophia Torpey, Commanding Officer of WAJU, gave the statistics on Monday at the start of a two-day community outreach programme on domestic violence, sexual abuse, child labour and parental responsibilities. The programme, which started at the Neoplan Station at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle through to the Achimota Lorry Park and ended at Amasaman is expected to sensitise these communities on prevailing laws and crime prevention. It is also to partner opinion leaders to find a lasting solution to prevailing problems of abuse and violence.

DSP Torpey stated that though the year was still young the number of reported cases of various forms of abuses had kept rising and there was the need to intensify public education on existing laws, impact of such criminal acts on both the individual as well as the nation. She said the Neoplan Station in Accra had gained notoriety for rape, defilement as well as child trafficking and urged Union members to be alert and report offenders to the police. "Out of the 28 cases of defilement reported in January, about six of them happened at the Neoplan station in Accra."

DSP Torpey cautioned drivers who condoned with child traffickers to transport their victims across boarders to desist from such an act but report offenders to the police. She said WAJU would embark on a massive programme to arrest exploitative employers who used the services of children for their own selfish gains, thus depriving them of basic education and other developmental progress. DSP Torpey said the Unit would apply stiff measures to minimise the soaring cases of child labour, neglect, violence and defilement.

Mr Dela T. Ashiabor, Head of Social Welfare, WAJU, blamed the current increase in crime to parental irresponsibility. "Due to the contraction of hasty marriages, divorce and separation have become the order of the day when such couples find out that they had loved blindly. It is the children born out of these marriages who suffer for their parents' mistakes," he said. He said these neglected children became very bitter towards society for their misfortune and resort to avenging their anger on society.

Mr Ashiabor advised husbands who used child neglect as punishment for their wives to desist from the act since it was criminal and could cost them a fine of not less than five million cedis or one year imprisonment in default of payment or both. Mr Ashiabor said the impact of violence, rape, defilement and child labour could negatively affect the psychological as well as socio-economic performance of the victim as they could be catalyst for the spread of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, abortions and other diseases. He appealed to the public to support the effort of WAJU in the campaign against child abuse, especially child trafficking, defilement and other forms of violence against women and children.