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10.02.2006 General News

Defilement cases soar

By GNA

Accra, Feb. 10, GNA - A study by the Domestic Violence Victim Support Unit (DVVISU) in 2005 indicated that 713 defilement cases were recorded nation-wide with Greater Accra Region leading with 400 cases. Reported rape cases were 206 for the same period, Ms Ekua Ansah Eshun, Chairman of the Ghana Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Coalition on the Rights of Child (GNCRC), said after pupils from the Accra Metropolis went on demonstration to draw attention to the recent increase in child abuse in the country and to appeal to the perpetrators to put an end to the practice.

The demonstration begun at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, through the Holy Spirit Cathedral to the Efua Sutherland Park with Child Rights Activists joining the pupils who held placards some of which read: "Life Is Useful -Abuse No Child"; "Children Are Not Toys To Play With" and "Stop Sexual Violence Now!"

Ms Eshun said the high incidence of the offence was a challenge to the country's record on human and child rights, as Ghana was reputed to be the first country to ratify the UN Convention on Child Rights. "Although these figures are in themselves extremely worrying, GNCRC is deeply concerned that cases that are not reported could far exceed reported ones", she said.

The Chairman said there was the need to change the Ghanaian culture where children, who reported domestic violence and defilement crimes committed by relatives and neighbours were often ostracised.

"As a result we would like to see an enabling environment in the home and community where children can feel comfortable to report abuses against them- sexual or otherwise", she said. Ms Eshun said: "We hope our Judiciary will see this through to the very end and ensure that justice is done."

She said children must be educated also on their rights and the avenues for assistance when faced with an abuse, saying "they should not only know that it is a violation of their right, but also where to report the crime and seek assistance".

She urged parents to forge close relationships with their children in order for them to be easily approached in case of any such abuse and that they must also not compromise with such acts and agree to settle such cases out of court.

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