Child marriages surge in parts of Brong-Ahafo

The Brong-Ahafo Regional Coordinator of the Police Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has issued a battle cry against the surge in child marriages in parts of the region.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Setina Aboagye told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the Unit had been inundated with reports of minors being forced into early marriage.

She mentioned Tain, Atebubu and Nkoranza Districts as the worst affected areas.

She vowed to go to every length to investigate, arrest and prosecute everybody found to have breached the law.

They have additionally scaled up public education to protect the fundamental human rights of girls and other vulnerable people.

DOVVSU, she indicated, had already trained a number of women in the various communities to report any rights abuse suffered by children to the police for prompt action.

She appealed for strong public support to provide adequate protection for women and children.

DSP Aboagye announced that a total of 1,162 domestic violence cases were reported to the Unit in 2016, compared with the year 2015 figure of 954.

She said 842 of the victims were females and the remaining 319, males.

Two hundred and nine (209) of the cases were prosecuted and they secured court conviction of 30 of the offenders while 25 were acquitted, with the cases of 154 others were pending.

She added that 253 of the cases were referred to social welfare department with 291 still under investigation.

The cases involved non-maintenance, assault, unlawful removal of children, non-acceptance of pregnancy, defilement, abduction, threat of death, offensive conduct and stealing.

The rest were criminal abortion, causing damage, early child marriage, rape, sexual harassment, child trafficking, child stealing, indecent assault and exposing children to danger.

DSP Aboagye expressed worry about the high rate of child non-maintenance cases – constituting 53.4 per cent of cases reported. and called for parents to be more responsible.

She complained about the lack of offices for the Unit in some of the districts and said this was a major obstacle to the fight against domestic violence in the region.

Source: GNA

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