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28 October 2017 | Crime & Punishment

Minister Counsels Chiefs To Leave Defilement Cases To The Police

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Minister Counsels Chiefs To Leave Defilement Cases To The Police

The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Otiko Djaba, has asked traditional leaders to desist from arbitrating criminal matters, like the case of the alleged defilement of a four-year-old girl at Assin Adadientem in the Central Region.

The chief in Assin Adadientem was reported to have declared the suspect in the alleged defilement case innocent, after a ruling from the gods, and was accused of impeding investigations into the incident.

The four-year-old was allegedly defiled by an 18-year old suspect, and is said to have bled for three days, according to her parents.

Madam Otiko, in a statement sympathizing with the four-year-old victim, stressed that the Police must have first say in these matters.

“We acknowledge the role of our traditional and opinion leaders; however, we would like to advise them not to arbitrate on such criminal matters. Defilement is a criminal offence and all such acts should first be reported to the Police.

The Minister has since directed officers of the Department of Social Welfare and the Children's Department to visit the victim and her family “to ascertain the facts about her welfare for necessary action to be taken.”

“I am also preparing to personally pay a visit to the little girl and her family to affirm our readiness to support the victim to receive justice and restore her dignity,” she added in her statement.

This case of abuse has sparked outrage among the public, and has prompted campaigns in support of the alleged victim and awareness creation for the rate at which minors are being defiled.

Madam Otiko herself described the numbers as “extremely worrying”, noting that in 2015 alone, DOVVSU recorded defilement 1,196 cases, with only 16 not involving a girl-child.

“The Ministry wants to assure Ghanaians that we are very sensitive to issues concerning the welfare of the vulnerable in our society and will continue to promote their rights, their well-being and development. We are liaising with other agencies for justice to be carried out for this little girl to serve as a deterrent to such abusers.”

The Central Region Police Command has since taken over investigations into the alleged defilement but no arrests have been made so far.

Find below the full statement
THE MINISTER FOR GENDER, CHILDREN AND SOCIAL PROTECTION, HON. OTIKO AFISAH DJABA CONDEMNS THE DEFILEMENT OF 4-YEAR OLD GIRL AT ASSIN DADIENTEM

The defilement of any child is horrifying, traumatic and unacceptable. My attention has been drawn through media reports to the defilement case involving a 4-year old girl at Assin Dadientem in the Central Region. As Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, I strongly condemn what has happened in no uncertain terms since it violates the fundamental human rights and dignity of this innocent girl.

Whilst waiting for the Police Report, I have directed officers of the Department of Social Welfare and the Children's Department of my Ministry to visit the victim and her family to ascertain the facts about her welfare for necessary action to be taken. I am also preparing to personally pay a visit to the little girl and her family to affirm our readiness to support the victim to receive justice and restore her dignity.

We are also collaborating with the Ghana Police Service to ensure the perpetrator and all those connected to this criminal act are brought to book.

To further demonstrate our commitment to the protection of children, our officers of the Domestic Violence Unit and Children's Department, specifically; Madam Victoria Natsu and Madam Helena Obeng- Asamoah respectively, have condemned the act (Joy News TV- 24th October, 2017 and Executive Breakfast Show on Class Fm on 26th October, 2017).

The defilement of any child is extremely worrying, in 2015 alone DOVVSU recorded 1,180 cases of female defilement and 16 males.

The Ministry wants to assure Ghanaians that we are very sensitive to issues concerning the welfare of the vulnerable in our society and will continue to promote their rights, their wellbeing and development. We are liaising with other agencies for justice to be carried out for this little girl to serve as a deterrent to such abusers.

The public is advised to report cases of defilement, rape and all forms of sexual abuses to the nearest police station or any law enforcement agency for the necessary processes to be initiated so that the evidence required by the police for investigation is not destroyed.

Parents are advised not to leave their children alone and also be very mindful of who they leave their children with when they are absent, since the perpetrators of defilement are people close to the family and/or trusted relations.

I want to emphasise that the protection of our children is a collective responsibility and I thus entreat all members of our communities to be more vigilant.

We acknowledge the role of our traditional and opinion leaders; however, we would like to advise them not to arbitrate on such criminal matters. Defilement is a criminal offence and all such acts should first be reported to the Police.

The Ministry wishes to remind the public that the survivor is a minor and we should all make an effort to protect her identity and dignity.

I would like to thank the media and the general public and assure all Ghanaians that my Ministry is following up on this case seriously to its logical conclusion.

Signed:
Hon. Otiko Afisah Djaba
Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection

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