High rate of child neglect & abuse worrying – Social Welfare Dept.

Children at the event to mark the African Union Day of the Child

The Social Welfare Department has described as worrying, the high rate of child neglect and abuse in the country, particularly those with disabilities.

The Ashanti Regional Deputy Director of the Department, Augustine Attah-Adade, says parents are increasingly shirking their responsibility to provide a safe environment for their children to develop their potentials.

“Despite the child protection Act in the 1992 constitution and under the UN Convention, many children continue to suffer from cruelty, starvation, and all forms of inhumane treatment at the hands of their parents and relatives” he said.

Speaking at an event to mark the African Union Day of the Child, Mr Attah-Adade observed that the worst affected children are those with disabilities.

Statistics from the Police Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit indicate that 714 cases of child neglect were recorded in the Ashanti region within the first 9 months of 2015.

The figure represents an increase of 54 cases recorded within the same period in the previous year.

Quoting the Children’s Act 560 of the 1998 Section 6, Mr Attah-Adade said every child has the right to life, dignity, respect, leisure, liberty, health, education and shelter from his parents.

He said parents have the responsibility either imposed by law or otherwise, to protect their children from neglect, discrimination, violence, abuse, exposure to physical and moral hazards and oppression among others

A representative of Compassion International, a non-governmental organization, Supreme Agbeme, called for the protection of children’s rights, especially in the area of education as enshrined in local and international conventions.

He spoke on the need to provide opportunities for children with disability and to be treated with respct and dignity.

“We observed the AU Day of the child because we want to create a platform where stakeholders will speak for the children because they (children) don’t have the voice.

“This year, we are emphasizing on the rights for children with disability because they’ve been neglected for so long a time. Our roads, schools, and church buildings among other buildings do not make provision for children with disability.

“We want to see children with disability being able to enjoy and access basic facilities,” he said.

Mr Agbeme lauded the government’s decision to review the disability Act but pleaded that it should be done with expediency.

By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana

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