Three organizations have jointly called for the criminal justice system to provide more protection for women and children, who suffer sexual abuse by handing down stiffer punishment to offenders.

Hope for Future Generations (HFFG), the Ghana Refugee Board and Palladium, said clear and stronger message should be sent to everybody that they could not mess up the lives women and girls. This was contained in a press release they issued in Kumasi and signed by Cecilia Senoo, Executive Director of the HFFG, to mark the International day for elimination of sexual violence in conflict and the world refugee day.
“Preventing sexual violence crimes through justice and deterrence”, was the theme chosen for this year’s event.

The statement expressed worry about the increasing sexual crimes in the country and said available statistics showed that 37 per cent of Ghanaian women had experienced sexual violence. Relatedly, 14 per cent of school children had been victims of sexual violence, with another 52 per cent, having suffered gender-based violence, it added.
It noted that there were many cases, which had gone unreported due to cultural beliefs and the notion that sexual violence should be settled out of court.

“There is no telling how many crimes go unreported and how many victims are suffering silently as research indicates that Ghanaian women face barriers in reporting violence.
These obstacles are rooted in a cultural belief that domestic and sexual violence is a private matter that should be addressed outside of the criminal justice system.”
The statement therefore asked all stakeholders particularly, the judiciary to do everything to ensure that abuse victims received justice.