LIGHT for Children, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) in Kumasi, has launched a programme dubbed: “Sexual assault education” in basic schools in the Ashanti Region.
The programme to be undertaken in conjunction with the educational authorities, is in line with the NGO’s efforts to reinforce personal safety skills of adolescents as a means of preventing sexual assault against them.
The programme involves among other activities, presentations in schools, formation of child sexual assault clubs, and the strengthening of relationship between the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the police and other stakeholders.
The programme hopes to let adolescents know and have a comprehensive list of community support services and agencies to refer cases of assault.
Launching the programme in Kumasi, the Executive Director of the NGO, Mr Yaw Otchere Baffour, said every effort must be made to protect children so that they would grow up to become responsible citizens of the nation.
He stated that child sexual assault was becoming a social menace “and it is our responsibility to do something about it”.
Mr Baffour said most sexual assaults against children remained hidden, with the most serious aspect being parents who accepted compensation from perpetrators.
He, therefore, stressed the need for parents to report all sexual assault cases against their children to the police for the necessary action to be taken.
Mr Baffour disclosed that the NGO was providing care and support for 50 HIV infected children in the Ashanti Region to enable them to lead meaningful lives.
The Ashanti Regional Commander of the DOVVSU, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) George Appiah Sakyi, said since its establishment, the unit had recorded 2,190 cases of sexual assault.
He said the modus operandi of the perpetrators of defilement involved luring victims with gifts.
ASP Sakyi said the police had not been able to investigate some of the cases because the victims were not ready to assist them in their investigations.
He warned against the settlement of cases of sexual assault under the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).
“We wish to state that sexual abuse cases are not considered under the ADR,” he said, adding that such cases were handled at the courts.
The Project Co-ordinator of the NGO, Mr Mike Owusu Gyimah, said the project had been nominated for the 2009 Bill Clinton Foundation Award to be held in Florida, USA, this month.