14% teenage girls are already mothers – Research

Nana Oye Lithur addressing the participantsThe Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection (GCSP), Nana Oye Lithur, has expressed worry over the increasing rate of teenage pregnancy in the country.

According to her, statistics from the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey 2014 indicated that 14 per cent of girls aged 15-19 had started child bearing.

“The situation is a source of worry for policy makers, social workers and other human service providers due to its negative repercussion on the girl-child,” she stated.

The Minister said this in Accra yesterday when she launched the 16-days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV).

The programme which seeks to create awareness on gender-based violence in the country has the theme, ‘From peace in the home to peace in the world: Make school safe for all’.

The launch was attended by stakeholders such as traditional rulers, gender activists and school children, and personnel from the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit of the Ghana Police Service.

Mrs Lithur said school-related gender-based violence affect millions of children and adolescents worldwide.

She said a research by the Human Rights Advocacy Centre indicated that 49 per cent of students reported sexually suggestive touching in their schools.

Statistics from DOVVSU also revealed that from 2010 to 2014, 5794 defilement, 1,603 rape, and 21,299 assault cases were perpetuated against women and girls.

“On the other hand, the unit recorded 20 defilement, 3,556 assault cases and zero rape cases against men,” the minister added.

She called on headteachers to put in measures to address the problem of gender-based violence in Ghana.

 

She said as part of measures to address the issue, the ministry in collaboration with UNFPA, had set up gender-based violence response centres at Agbogbloshie and Mallam-Atta Markets in Accra, to support victims and survivors of gender-based violence (GBV).

The DOVVSU Coordinator, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Habiba Twumasi Sarpong, in her remarks, stated that from 2010 to 2014, gender-based violence constituted a violation of human rights and was punishable by law.

“Abuses of the human rights of women and girls such as child marriages, widowhood rites and many other forms of abuse of human beings of the feminine gender, are all criminal and punishable by law,” she emphasised.

ACP Sarpong encouraged women and children to seek help by reporting perpetrators.

The Executive Director of Women, Media and Change, Mrs Charity Binkah who was the chairperson said violence against women and girls affect the country’s development.

She said some negative cultural practices also contribute to GBV which does not help in development.

Mrs Binkah stressed the need to educate children on issues of domestic violence in the country.

Dr Babatunde Ahonsi, Country Representative of United Nations Population Fund, assured the ministry of their continuous support in helping address gender based violence in the country.

He called on stakeholders to come under one umbrella to address the issue.

 

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