20 June 2012

Ghana: 91.8 Percent Female Students Are Sexually Abused - Report

Kumasi — A REPORT of a study on sexual abuse in schools in Ghana indicates that 91.8% of the victims of sexual abuse in schools were female students between the ages of 15 and 18, with JHS as the modal class of the victims.

Mrs. Aisha Sitsofe Agbana at the DOVVSU Division revealed this at a programme organized by Resource Link Foundation, a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) as part of the commemoration of World Day against Child Labour.

According to her, a sizeable proportion of 31.8% of the children indicated that they knew of cases of sexual abuse in their schools, which took place mainly outside the school premises, and that those acts that took place on the premises of the school occurred in the classroom (16.9%), in the teacher's room (1.5%) and at the garage (0.7%).

Mrs. Aisha Agbana revealed that the main perpetrators were given as boy/girl friends (38.9%), school and playmates (16.4%) and neighbours (14.9%) and teachers (9.7%).

The report indicated that the punishment meted out to the perpetrators, the majority (50.5%) were of the view that practically nothing was done to punish them, which she said was because nothing was done to deter the perpetrators from committing another sexual offence (31.5%). The issue, she said, was kept secret and handled quietly at home (14.0%), and the perpetrator either left unpunished or absconded (11.6%). Only 15.7% indicated that the perpetrator was handed over to the law enforcement agencies.

She said majority (52.7%) of the respondents were of the view that the action taken by the school authorities in cases of sexual abuse was far from being satisfactory. It was indicated that while 29.8% said the authorities did not take any action, 22.9% were not sure that the incidents were even reported to the law enforcement agencies, the GES, or the parents of both the perpetrators and the victims.

They, however, intimated that while some of the perpetrators were suspended or dismissed, only 13.0% were punished by the authorities while 6.1% were warned and reprimanded by the authorities; 5.3% were reported to the police or DOVVSU, 3.1% were reported to the parents of the victims and 1.5% were reported to parents of the perpetrators.

Mr. Christopher Dapaah, the Coordinating Director of the Foundation said Ghana has in recent times made some gains in the fight against child labour through promotion and creation of awareness on Human Rights and other social issues

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