Mr Clarke Noyoru, Project Coordinator, Legal Resource Centre, has noted that the breakdown of the extended family system was affecting the upbringing of children, increasing cases of child delinquency.
He said the nuclear family system limited the role of the extended family system, where children belonged to the community which had influence in their lives.
Mr Noyoru was speaking to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the sidelines of a stakeholders’ consultation on justice for children in Ho on the theme, “Justice for Children: Bridging the gap between Legislation and Practice”.
He said reports from law enforcement agencies showed an increase in child delinquency across the country and attributed it to the breakdown of the family system.
He said to address the situation; there was the need to re-look at the extended family system even though it was facing its own challenges through urbanization, poverty among others “so the child does not fall out of the system”.
Mr Noyoru said data from the Department of Social Welfare indicated that between 2005 and 2010, about 1409 persons under the age of 18 were placed on probation programme for special rehabilitation.
He said court data between 2011 and 2013 showed that stealing was the most common offense committed by children, representing 50.7 per cent of cases reviewed, while assault and rape or defilement represented 17.9 and 12.4 per cent respectively.
Mr Noyoru observed that should the child “fall out of the system”, child friendly provisions in the Juvenile Justice Act should be enforced to help refine the juvenile back into the society from misconduct.
He said the justice system should not be the only basis for incarcerating a juvenile, but focus on a “prescription treatment model” for children in conflicts with the law.
Mr Noyoru said the prescription of the treatment model was based on the role of the family and community in offering the juvenile opportunities to repression from criminal acts and the support system for remission and correction.
He also called for support systems and “compensation” for children who are abused, exploited or their rights violated.