Parents have been asked to create an enabling home environment that would encourage and give children the confidence to speak about any acts of violence and abuse suffered.
The call is contained in child protection baseline research report published by Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry, a copy of which was made available to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Kumasi.
It expressed concern that although “children know who to tell if they are hurt by someone, the overall atmosphere in the family may not always encourage such disclosures”.
That, it added, needed to change so that worries could “be discussed by children in the family context”.
It noted the high level of trust that children have in adults, particularly family members, and said what had been lacking was the confidence to confide in them when hurt.
“Adults, particularly family members, therefore have a correspondingly high level of responsibility to know what to do and to act appropriately to respond to violence against children.”
The study was carried out with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), local and international organizations.The report asked that adults must not underestimate the capacity of children to participate in their own protection.
It said it came out during the research that when seeking help in actual harm, children aged 14 to 17, preferred to go to an adult rather than another child.
It underlined the need for parenting and care-giving practices to be strengthened to give adequate protection to children.
There should also be stronger engagement with churches, mosques, traditional leaders and assembly members to deepen the awareness of child rights and protection issues – to build their capacity to effectively prevent harm of children, the report added.
It also called for speedy trial of court cases involving children, adding that, gaps in legislation and policy should also be addressed to offer a stronger protective environment for children.