Responding to child abuse is expensive- UN

Mr Abdalla Iddriss, Child Protection Specialist of the United Nations Children’s Fund, has indicated that responding to child abuse cases is four times expensive as child protection.

He said protecting children against violence and abuse aims at saving cost of families, communities and ultimately the state.

Mr Idriss said this at the opening of a two-day information sharing and peer review workshop for the National Steering Committee on Child Labour in Accra on Wednesday.

The workshop is to facilitate the coordination of partner’s activities to inform the progress of the implementation of the National Plan of Action.

He said when children are protected in a community they grow up with self-worth, self-esteem and respect for others.

“Violence and abuse affect children’s health and well-being even their survival and their educational outcomes,” he said.

He noted that a survey conducted globally indicated that significant proportion of adolescent girls reported that they have been victims of violence.

Mr Idriss said 90 per cent of children between two -14 years have experienced one form of violence.

He noted that first experience of sexual intercourse among most women was through the use of force against their will during adolescent age.

Mr Iddriss said currently Ghana has no national policy framework on child protection, adding that efforts to improve justice for children have also not been integrated into the broader justice reforms.

The child protection specialist announced that to address violence, abuse and exploitation of children, there is the need for the nation to have a child and family welfare and justice service, laws and policy and social behavioural change.

The new Child Protection Policy Framework is expected to be introduced by September 2013.

In a speech read on his behalf, Nii Armah Ashitey, Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, commended development partners for their continuous support to eliminate child labour.

He said government recognises the serious danger child labour poses to the rights and well being of the victims and its negative consequence on national development.

“Child labour is therefore a challenge to Ghana’s goal to attain higher middle income status by 2015,” he said. GNA

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