‘Encourage children to report cases of abuse’

BY: Zadok Kwame Gyesi
Mr Barima Akwasi Amankwah (inset) addressing participants in the forum.

The acting National Coordinator of the Ghana NGOs Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC), Mr Barima Akwasi Amankwah, has called on governmental and other gender-based organisations to provide child-friendly services to children to encourage them to report cases of abuse.

According to him, many children who suffered abuse did not report to their parents, guardians or authorities due to the fear of being stigmatised afterwards.

He explained that some of the existing social service interventions aimed at providing relief services for abused children were not attractive and conducive enough to encourage children to report abuse cases.

Forum in Tamale

Mr Amankwah stated this at a forum held in Tamale for more than 30 selected journalists from the Upper West, Upper East and the Northern regions.

Organised by the GNCRC, the forum was to enlighten the journalists on the new Child and Family Welfare Policy (CFWP) which was launched in Accra on July 14, 2015.

The CFWP seeks to prevent child abuse, protect children from harm, and promote children’s wellbeing and to ensure the institution of well-structured and coordinated child and family welfare systems.

The journalists were taken through the various components of the CFWP to give them better understanding of issues contained in the policy.

Mr Amankwah expressed worry that the country did not have adolescent hospitals and children’s cells.

“We need to establish children’s cells so that children who are arrested for offences are kept in such cells”, he stated.

Correctional homes
He also expressed unhappiness about the nature of the correctional homes for children in the country.
According to Mr Amankwah, most of the correctional homes did not help to transform the character of children who were sent there but rather turned them into hardened criminals.

“Most of the correctional homes lack the facilities to transform the children”, he said, noting that “most of the children rather come out as hardened criminals”.
Touching on the CFWP, he said the goal of the CFWP was to establish effective child and family welfare systems.