Medical fees for examination or endorsement of medical forms of abused children are hampering investigations and subsequent prosecution says the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU).
Police Superintendent Florence Anaman, the Eastern Regional DOVVSU Commander, said many victims of child abuse such as rape or defilement cases are not able to pay the medical fees and often abandon the process seeking redress.
She said some medical officers charged fees ranging between 150 and 300 cedis for medical endorsement or examination adding that “parents or guardians of such victims always find it difficult to pay the money and hardly come back”.
The DOVVSU Commander, who made this known at an end of year meeting of the Eastern Regional Multi-Sectorial Committee on Children, said once the victims refuse to proceed with the process, it also becomes difficult for her outfit to continue with investigations and prosecution.
Another concern, she said, was the lack of shelter to keep abused or missing children to enable smooth investigation “so we are forced to keep such children at the police station”.
The DOVVSU Commander appealed to the Committee to take up the issues and engage stakeholders to find a solution to ensure the full protection of children who are victims of crimes.
The Committee is made of representatives from the DOVVSU, CHRAJ, ISD, Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ghana Education Service (GES), Department of Gender of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Traditional authorities and Plan-Ghana, ICDP and other NGOs working in the interest of children under the auspices of the Department of Children under the Gender Ministry.
Mrs. Ellen Asare, a representative of the GHS, revealed that 8,196 teenage pregnancies were recorded between January-September 2019 representing 13% of all pregnancies in the region.
She said in order to curb the trend, the GHS has established counseling services and adolescent corners at all health facilities to provide counseling services to the youth.
Mrs. Asare said the GHS is implementing a project called “Safety Net” in Kwahu Afram Plains, Akyemansa and the Upper-Manya Krobo districts to track pregnant teenage girls till they deliver and are enrolled back to school.
Mr. Emmanuel Dartey, Eastern Regional Director of the Department of Children, urged all stakeholders including DOVVSU, CHRAJ, GES to continue in their efforts saying the committee would take up the issues raised to ensure full the protection of children in the region.