The Upper East Regional Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has recorded 65 defilement cases in 2020; 32 more than the 33 cases recorded in 2019.
Additionally, five cases were also recorded within the first quarter of 2021.
These details were contained in a research conducted by the Rural Initiatives for Self-Empowerment Ghana (RISE-Ghana) and made known to stakeholders at Bolgatanga.
The research formed part of the implementation of a sexual and reproductive health project dubbed “ENOUGH!” by RISE-Ghana in partnership with Oxfam Ghana and Women in Law and Development in Africa (WiLDAF) and funded by the European Union.
The project aimed to empower women, girls, boys, and men in Mali, Ghana, and Liberia to take positive action to end sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in their respective countries.
The research was therefore undertaken to enable the implementing organisation and its partners to have a comprehensive understanding of the nature and pattern of SGBV cases in the region and to use the data for evidence-informed decision making and advocacy towards a satisfactory justice delivery for survivors of SGBV and activities to help reduce cases.
Ms. Jaw-haratu Amadu, the Head of Programmes at RISE-Ghana, who revealed these to the stakeholders stated that the research was conducted within the first quarter of 2021 in regional offices of rights promotion offices such as DOVVSU, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana Health Service, Ghana Education Service, Department of Social Welfare and Community Development and their district offices in Kassena-Nankana and Bawku municipalities and Kassena-Nankana West and Pusiga districts.
She said the study uncovered that statistics from the GES showed that 764 students had dropped out of school in the Kassena-Nankana Municipality from 2019 to the first quarter of 2021 while at Pusiga, 447 students dropped out of school in 2021 alone.
“One issue that has been in the cases reported was non-maintenance of women and children and teenage pregnancies. This runs through all the departments and the districts and it means education has to be intensified on responsible parenting and reproductive health rights,” she added.
Ms. Amadu said the situation was worrying and women and girls were the most vulnerable, and called for collective efforts from all stakeholders to contribute to curbing the situation.
She said it was realised that the youth had little or no education on sexual and reproductive health and certain socio-cultural beliefs and practices were hindrances to drawing back the efforts of inculcating in the youth the right sex education.
Mr. Abdulai Jaladeen, the Regional Director of CHRAJ, said traditional authorities needed to be involved in the fight against sexual and gender-based violence by abolishing all forms of dehumanising cultural practices.
He said SGBV, especially defilement, teenage pregnancy, and child marriage had serious consequences on the development of the girl child and could derail the efforts of the country in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals when not addressed urgently.