Government approves policies against child abuse – Samira Bawumia
Hajia Samira Bawumia, the Second Lady, Monday said, the Government has approved Child and Family Welfare and Justice for Children Policy; the Justice for Children Policy and National Gender Policy, along with its operational plans to make life better for children.
She said the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies had also been facilitated by the National Development Planning Commission to plan and budget for the protection of children.
Hajia Bawumia made the remarks at the first Anniversary Celebration of the ‘Ghanaians Against Child Abuse’ (GACA) Campaign, in Accra.
She, however, urged the Government to allocate sufficient resources for the implementation of these policies to have a meaningful impact on the prevention and response to violence against children.
She explained that the cost of violence in Ghana was estimated to be more $200 million annually or one per cent of Ghana’s Gross Domestic Product.
Hajia Bawumia said in response to the alarming level of violence in schools, the Ghana Education Service (GES) developed a resource pack to support teachers, students, parents and communities to address corporal punishment, bullying, and sexual harassment and transform schools into safe and inclusive learning environment.
This was done in collaboration the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and with the support of the Government of Canada, in 2016 to 2017.
She said the resource pack dubbed: “The Safe School Resource Pack”, comprised of a comprehensive set of materials, including teachers’ handbook and training manual, peer to peer manual factsheet and posters designed to address the root causes of school violence.
These covered gender and social norms income inequality, deprivation, marginalisation and conflicts.
The Second Lady said the Safe School Programme, of which the GES-Guidance and Counselling Unit was the lead implementer, sought to promote enrolment and retention, improvement in students’ academic achievements as well as to prevent and respond to violence in schools.
Ms Cynthia Maamle Morrison, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, said many children in Ghana suffered many abuses – ranging from physical, emotional, spiritual, social, psychological to sexual.
She said even though the Government was gradually improving and making Ghana fit for children, the statistics did not depict a good and desirable situation.
“About 33 per cent of children in Ghana are said to have experienced sexual abuse,” she said worriedly.
Ms Morrison said one fundamental fact that promoted and encouraged child abuse and other violence against children were some cultural and social norms.
She said the Government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo believed that Ghanaians could rise up against child abuse by using three major approaches.
These approaches she said were: Enforcing policy and legislative frameworks to ensure that minimum standards were set and adhered to; improving services and infrastructure for children, while institutions were strengthened; and changing the behaviour of both duty bearers and claim holders in order to ensure compliance to the provisions of laws, policies and best practices.
The Gender Minister said her outfit was currently formulating a robust legislative framework to further strengthen and review all child related-laws for effective child protection.
She, however, said the policy environment in terms of violence against children was very conducive, owing to the steps taken by the Government and its partners.
“These policies have clearly outlined the Government’s commitment towards ensuring that a conducive environment is created for all children in Ghana”.