Child Prostitution has emerged as the leading Child Protection issue in the Upper West Region.
Child Migration, Child Marriage and Defilement, are other pressing child protection issues peculiar to the communities in the region, a baseline study by the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has revealed.
The baseline study showed that child prostitution recorded 162 cases, followed by child migration which registered 150 cases, while child marriages stood at 74, with 54 defilement cases.
The study which comprised selected communities in the Wa Municipality and the Wa East District, showed that 92 per cent of the respondents confirmed their knowledge about the institutions available for community base child protection, while eight per cent said they were not aware of any institution.
Some challenges, such as, lack of capacity in dealing with cases, and lack of interest, were issues that the community base child protection institutions were facing, as most victims or parents were not willing to report such violence on their children.
Some respondents urged the child protection institutions to improve capacity-building, provide funds, educate and discourage demand for money from victims in reporting cases, as measures to overcome the challenges.
Other respondents also said they were only aware of state institutions, such as the Police and the Clinics that sometimes assists victims in their communities.
The study showed that the challenges that made state institutions not to function properly, were lack of personnel, funds, logistics and corruption.
The solutions that were given to the challenges associated with state institutions were, to improve on capacity-building, discourage corruption, educate people and also provide logistics for institutions dealing with child protection issues.
The study urged health service, criminal justice system, the media and non-governmental organisations, to let child protection issues be their responsibility in the region. GNA