Oheneyere Gifty Anti, a Journalist and Women and Children’s Right Advocate has called on the citizenry to support abused and neglected children, and fight for their wellbeing to ensure positive outcomes from them.
“The sad thing about the abused is that if they do not get help they never forget, it lives with them forever, children do not grow out of abuse, they grow with it and it destroys them.”
She made the call during the launch of Standing Together Against Child Abuse and Neglect (STACAN), a non-profit organisation based in Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK), on the theme: Promoting the wellbeing of children: Preventing Abuse and Neglect.
According to her, parents needed psychological and psychiatric help and needed to work on themselves to be able to tackle child abuse and neglect.
She said most parents in the process of raising children broke and abused them psychologically, physically and emotionally as they transferred their frustrations onto them because they were broken and abused as well.
Gifty Anti said parents and the citizenry had become selfish and interested in amassing wealth and unhealthy competition among themselves to show off and search for fame, and consequently neglected their children.
She said there were young people who felt neglected and abused by the elderly hence filled with bitterness and were perceived to be disrespectful, grow up and get into institutions and become abusive but she attributed that to the way they had been treated.
“The children we are neglecting and abusing today would be in charge when we have grown old, what kind of treatment do we expect from them?”
Mrs Elsie Owusu- Kumi, Founder of STACAN and a Child Protection Social Worker based in the UK called for the prioritizing of issues relating to the welfare of children.
She appealed to the Government to invest in services concerning children including the scrapping of the medical examination fees for children who had been sexually abused.
Mrs Owusu-Kumi said Government must provide tailored interventions such as free therapy and counselling services for the abused children.
She said it was important to have a more robust child protection system in the country where children suffering abuse and neglect were safeguarded in a timely intervention.
“We equally acknowledge that when it comes to safeguarding children, we each have a role to play. That is why the Children’s Act 1989 makes it clear that safeguarding children is everybody’s responsibility,” she said.
Mr Elvis Bawa Sadongo, Divisional Motor Traffic and Transport Directorate (MTTD) Commander, Kaneshie, advised that children to be taught about body ownership and how to disclose perpetrators of abuse.
He said interventions from institutions must be swift and that victims of abuse must not be blamed to prevent them from opening up adding that abused children did not need lawyers since the state would provide them with one for free.
According to him, the law prohibited disclosing the identity of an abused child therefore he appealed to the media to protect the identities and dignities of the victims to prevent public ridicule.
Mr Sadongo condemned the system induced trauma, where victims were further abused by institutions when they sought for help and intervention.
Every other secondary trauma they experienced from the first one is more hurting and more destructive than the first one that a survivor had experienced, he said.
STACAN seeks to educate and empower by creating awareness on child abuse and neglect and equipping parents, professionals and individuals involved in the provision of care to children with the required skills and knowledge.
Its work is guided by key legislations and human rights treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) committed to the best interests of the child and sets out rights that must be realised for children to develop their full potential.