2,961 Police officers trained on standard operating procedures
Some selected police officers have been trained on standard operating procedures in handling child victims, witnesses and offenders.
Also, 56 per cent of professionals in the justice system have been certified to deal with such cases, while 18 child-friendly, gender-based violence courts have been established across the country and two juvenile courts refurbished.
The interventions, including the training of the 2,961 police officers, were supported by UNICEF Ghana.
A Child Protection Specialist at UNICEF, Hilda Mensah, disclosed these at the annual child protection programme review and planning meeting in Accra yesterday.
She said some progress had also been made in reducing child marriages over the past five years, adding that the percentage of children under one year whose births were registered with civil authorities also increased to 70 per cent as of the end of 2021.
“As of June 2022, 31,570 adolescent girls had benefitted from support, prevention and care services from UNICEF, the Ghana Health Service, the Ghana Education Service and some NGOs through a global programme to end child marriage.
“Out of the number, 1,000 marginalised adolescent girls stayed in school and accessed education at no cost,” Ms Mensah said.
According to her, nearly 100 religious and traditional leaders were also engaged in dialogue and training workshops at the national and the regional levels to enhance their capacity to promote a supportive and gender-equal environment.
Ms Mensah further said through a partnership with civil society organisations, more than 5,000 adolescent girls in 20 districts accessed safe spaces to make their own informed decisions and choices regarding their rights, marriage, education and sexual and reproductive health.
She mentioned some of the bottlenecks they identified during the period as negative gender and social norms, especially child marriage in rural and less-educated areas, and fragmented coordination among national, metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and communities.
The Deputy Director, Judicial Reforms and Projects at the Judicial Service, Gifty Preko Nyarko, said the judicial sector remained a very critical partner in child protection.
“When all else fail, we cannot fail; when social structures fall, we cannot fall; when families are breaking apart, we cannot break apart; we have to hold on and put them together,” she said.
She also called for improvement in the well-being of children, since they were the future of the nation.
In a speech read on her behalf by the Director of the Department of Social Welfare, Rev. Dr Comfort Asare, the Chief Director of the MoGCSP, Dr Afisah Zakariah, said protection and the enhancement of children’s rights required multi-sectoral interventions to achieve the desired results.
She said it was in that regard that her outfit was grateful for the work done by various stakeholders to protect children, especially in the expansion of integrated social services to 60 more districts in the country.
Dr Zakariah commended UNICEF for its contribution to the protection and promotion of the rights of children in the country, adding that such support went to complement the government’s efforts in the areas of health, education, child protection and social protection.