Don’t compel your pregnant teenagers to marry — DOVVSU

BY: Mohammed Fugu
Don’t compel your pregnant teenagers to marry — DOVVSU
Don’t compel your pregnant teenagers to marry — DOVVSU

Parents have been advised against compelling their pregnant teenagers to marry in order to prevent such girls from abuse by their supposed husbands.

Victims in such trapped marriages are often abused by their so called husbands for which reason they experience divorce at early ages thereby worsening their plight because of the lack of support.

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The Northern Regional Coordinator of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), Mr Emmanuel Holortu, gave the advice at a forum organised by World Vision Ghana at Karaga in the Northern Region to sensitise the public to violence against children.

Responsibilities

Mr Holortu urged parents to live up to their responsibilities by taking proper care of their children to prevent them from exploitation and abuse by irresponsible men who prey on the innocence of such girls to defile and make them pregnant.

“We must avoid trading sexuality of girls under the claim of poverty because poverty will always remain with us and we can only work ourselves out of poverty through education and hard work. The solution to poverty is not by giving out your child in marriage,” he stated.


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He also called on non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and other advocacy groups to step up the campaign against child marriages by highlighting its effects on the mother and the unborn child.

“To end child marriage effectively, we must educate our children to avoid early sex, we must also encourage and report cases of child abuse to the appropriate authorities for prosecution,” he added.

Campaign

As part of its effort to end violence against children at home and the school, World Vision, a Christian relief and advocacy organisation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Gender and Social Protection, launched the campaign last year.

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Dubbed “End violence against children,” the campaign seeks to support the fight against child abuse and also create opportunities for good parenting and proper child care.

The Regional Operations Manager of World Vision Ghana, Mr Timothy A. Akanpabadai, said the child marriage menace still persisted as a result of poor parenting, teenage pregnancy and poverty in the region, particularly in rural communities.

“We are poor not because we do not have the resources but because we refuse to fight the core causes of poverty and rather use children, especially the girl child, as part of our incomes. Fighting poverty will be achieved if we allow our children to grow into adults and complete their education before they marry.

“Statistics shows that child marriage status in the entire Northern Region is 38.0 per cent. 34.3 per cent of child marriages occur in rural communities and we as stakeholders need to do more to nib the menace in the bud particularly in the Gushegu and Karaga districts,” he stated.

Advocacy

Mr Akanpabadai said one of the key ways to end the menace was for the various stakeholders to empower and collaborate with community leaders to intensify advocacy through kids’ clubs and Citizens’ Voice Action (CVA) groups in the communities.

He also recommended the strict enforcement of child right laws with the support of DOVVSU and the strengthening of the capacities of Social Development Department, in the various districts, to child protection issues.