The Executive Director of Child Rights International (CRI), Mr Bright Appiah, has bemoaned the surge in child abuse cases, indicating that the “issue is an indictment on the country’s social investment programmes”.
He has, therefore, called for the establishment of a robust child protection system where perpetrators of child abuse will be dealt with severely.
“Every year, the government invests over GH¢1 billion in social investment programmes without any social protection safety net to hold perpetrators of child abuse accountable for committing such heinous crimes against children. In the end, these activities affect government interventions negatively,” he said in a statement copied to the Daily Graphic.
Responding to a recent child abuse case in the Upper East Region where an adult set a boy ablaze, Mr Appiah said the recent development of continuous abuse of children’s rights had the tendency to dent Ghana’s image in the eyes of the international community as a place where children were not safe.
An 11-year-old boy in Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region is still nursing his wounds, more than a year after a man had poured petrol on him and set him ablaze.
Maxwell Ayinbisa Abelinkiira was accused of peeping through a bathroom to watch a woman who was taking her bath, an offence the boy has denied.
This story comes in the wake of a similar one in the Central Region where a boy’s hand was wounded by his stepmum whose machete fell on him but left the wound to fester until it decayed.
The five-year-old boy’s hand was amputated at the Central Regional Hospital in Cape Coast last two weeks.
Mr Appiah said apart from those cases, there were a number of child abuse cases the organisation had catalogued.
He said most of the cases the CRI had documented would shock the country when they were released.
“Like Maxwell, most parents attempt to keep abuse cases hidden from the public, while they resort to using family dialogue to settle them. This is very sad,” he said.
Mr Appiah said the organisation would soon begin to take up the fight against parents or people who “decide to cover up abuse against children”.
He said the lack of proper documentation and presentation of issues of child abuse cases largely affected the outcomes of cases within the country’s judicial system.
“However our judicial system must, as a matter of urgency, respond rapidly to issues against children, so that people who will commit such crimes in the future will be aware of the consequences,” Mr Appiah said.
He also called on stakeholders, particularly the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, to wage a campaign against child abuse, adding that “CRI is ready to collaborate with the ministry and any child-centred institution”.