Preventive Child Sexual Abuse Workshops
Child sexual abuse is a serious problem in Ghana, and reported cases are increasing.
In 2012, the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana police reported that Ghana had 1,111 reported cases of child sexual assault.
The prevalence rate of child sexual abuse in Africa reported in 2009 is 34.4%, which is the highest globally.
In 2006, UNFPA (United Nations Fund for Population Activities) reported that 40-47% of sexual assaults globally are perpetrated against girls below 15 years of age.
In response to this issue, Light for Children created the Preventive Child Sexual Assault Workshops, which have been presented in primary and junior high schools since 2010. To help young people deal with the serious subject matter, the presentations are kept engaging and interactive. Using skits, songs, and a detailed talk, the workshops educate students about:
What sexual assault is, and how to recognise warning signs
Every person’s right to be free of sexual assault
What children should do if they are sexually assaulted
Often cases of sexual abuse are not reported in Ghana, for a variety of reasons. The abuser is usually known to the victim and is often in a position of authority in the child’s family or community. Sentences for convicted child sexual abusers are very harsh, and the stigma attached to the victim can be severe. So many cases are settled with a bribe outside of court. These settlements do nothing to help the abused children deal with the physical and psychological damage caused by the assault.
Because of these barriers to action, Light for Children offers follow-up advice and counselling after the workshops. Volunteers present the workshops answer as many questions as they can, but they also leave the contact information of trained Light for Children staff, whom the students can call later to discuss issues of abuse and seek advice.
Since 2010 these workshops have reached over 20, 000 students in the Ashanti Region, and Light for Children will be expanding the program to include Sunyani, a city in the Brong Ahafo Region.
Some children are reluctant to report abuse because they may be forced to leave their homes and may have to interrupt their schooling. Light for Children has sponsored some such children, enabling them to live in a safe foster home and continue their education. If you are interested in sponsoring a child in this situation, please let us know.