Child Abuse in Ghana

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					  Child Abuse:
A Comparison between
  the United States
    Ghana, Africa

    Janice Turner
    Melissa Noble
     May 19, 2009
                             CHILD ABUSE
                              HILD BUSE

                                    IN THE
                                    IN THE

                          UNITED STATES
                           NITED TATES

                        4 types of Child Abuse
                    (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 2004)

Physical   Abuse
           Physical abuse is physical injury to a child such as shaking, chocking,
            and biting, hitting, kicking, burning, drowning, poisoning or any
            dangerous use of force or restraint which is a deliberate force of
            violence to a child’s body. The two main types of abuse is harsh and
            severe abuse
           Signs of Physical Abuse:

                  ·Bruises or welts in various stages of healing
                  ·Bruises or welts reflecting the shape of objects
                  ·Cigar or cigarette burns
                  ·Pattern burns
                  ·Rope burns
Emotional    Abuse
           Emotional abuse is when a parent attacks a child’s sense of self-worth.
            It consists of: rejecting, isolating, terrorizing, ignoring, verbally
            assaulting and over-pressuring.
           Signs of Emotional Abuse:

                  ·Behavior problems
                  ·Worry excessively
                  · Aggression
                  ·Overly dependent
                  ·Clinging to adults

Sexual    Abuse
           Sexual abuse is the dominant coercion of an adult toward a child that
            allows him or her to force the child into a sexual act. It consist of:
            sexual touching and fondling, showing a child pornographic materials,
            having a child pose, undress or act in a sexual manner, peeping into
            bedrooms or bathrooms and rape or attempted rape.
           Signs of Sexual Abuse:

                  ·Difficulty in walking or sitting
                  ·Torn, stained or bloody underclothing
                  ·Pain or itching in genital area
                  ·Bruises, bleeding or infection in external genitalia, vaginal or
                  anal areas
                  ·Venereal disease, especially in pre-teens


           Neglect is failing to provide a child with basic needs. The needs are
            physical, medical, educational and emotional.
           Signs of Neglect:

                  ·Consistent hunger, poor hygiene, inappropriate dress
                  ·Consistent lack of supervision
                     ·Unattended physical/emotional problems or medical needs

                          Reporting Child Abuse
First     Child Abuse Reporting Statue
             Started in 1963

Mandated        Reporters of Child Abuse
             Started in 1967 with Physicians

              o In 1968, a series of different personnel followed

              o Nurses, hospital personnel, dentist, coroners

              o Medical examiners, Mental health personnel

              o SW, School personnel and Law Enforcement personnel

              (U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 2004)

Federal     Government Reporting Laws
             Started in 1974
             Stricter laws than the states
             Enacted Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)

(U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services)
                          Preventing Child Abuse
The   Child Protection Team
             Started in 1958 in Denver, Colorado
             Created by C. Henry Kempe, Elizabeth Boardman and Betty Elmo
             To protect the physical well-being of children

(U. S. Dept of Health and Human Services, 2002)

Child     Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)
             Gave funds to local states
             To identify child abuse
             Treat child abuse
             Prevent Child Abuse

Ways      to Prevent Child Abuse
             Nurture the child
             Take timeout when you feel overwhelmed or out of control
             Ask for help
             Report Abuse
             Get involved in your child’s life
             Have a support system

(U.S. Dept of Health and Human Services)
                    CHILD ABUSE IN GHANA
                     HILD BUSE IN HANA

Child abuse continues to be common throughout Ghana but especially in low-
      income families

The most common form of corporal punishment in Ghana is caning (Selby, 2008)

      o       Caning refers to a “form of corporal punishment consisting of a
              number of hits with a flexible rattan cane” (Wikipedia, 2008)

The abolition of corporal punishment was not included in the Children’s Act of
      1998, it was only suggested that non-violent forms of discipline be enacted
      (Integrated Regional Information Networks, 2004)

Ghana serves as a source and destination for trafficked children (U.S. Dept. of Labor,

          o      The majority of trafficked victims are girls between the ages of 10
                 to 15 years old
          o      Victims suffer mistreatment, poor working conditions, beatings,
                 rape and forced marriages
                Child Labor & Education Concerns

Children often are required to contribute to family income through hawking, head
      porterage, shoe-shining, petty trading, etc. (Fayorsey) and may sometimes get
      in trouble if they do not make enough money for the family (Selby, 2008)

          o      Hawking refers to “road-side vendors selling merchandise”
                 (Wikipedia, 2008)
          o      Head porterage refers to the transferring of scarce materials on a
                 person’s head

Children as young as 7 years old work also work as domestic servants, rock
      breakers, small scale minors, farmers and fishermen (U.S. Dept. of Labor, 2009)

Children often miss school in order to fulfill such duties which goes against
      Ghanaian law which states that it is the “right of every Ghanaian child to
      have Free Compulsory Basic Education” (Fayorsey)

      o       One solution to this is to change class schedules so that children have
              time to work without interfering with education (as discussed in class)

In Ghana, most children are responsible for waste disposal from the household
      which exposes them to various disease pathogens (Fayorsey)

      o       This task is performed by children as young as 4 years old
      o       32% of the population has access to sanitary means of excreta
      o       30.6% of rural households do not have sanitary facilities at all


Many children do not have access to adequate food and nutrition (Fayorsey)

      o       Many children are only able to meet 25% of their dietary needs

1/3 of rural populations lack access to safe drinking water (United Nations Children
      Fund, 2008)

                     Cultural Issues in comparing
                            the U.S. and Ghana
Lack of sanitation, nutrition and use of child labor are definitions of child abuse
     that may not apply to all countries (including Ghana)

Even in the U.S., if a child is not being fed properly, this is not always considered
     child abuse if the parents truly do not have the appropriate resources to meet
     their child’s needs

                    Solutions: What’s being done?

Although child abuse/child labor is not legal in Ghana, enforcement of laws
      against it are very difficult to implement

      o       The government has been criticized for failing to put resources into
              enforcing provisions
      o       There seems to be a lack of training needed to take enforcement action
      o       Hence, most child abuse cases are not sanctioned unless they are
              severe cases (as discussed by guest speaker)

Several Child Labor initiatives have been enacted in Ghana (U.S. Dept. of Labor,
      o     In 2000, the government of Ghana signed a Memorandum of
            Understanding with the International Labor Organization’s
            International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor (ILO-IPEC)
            to initiate such activities
      o     Ghana receives financial support from the U.S. Dept. of Labor to
            support this cause
      o     Other initiatives include the Free Compulsory Universal Basic
            Education (FCUBE) program and the Universal Children’s Law

In 1989, Ghana adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
      which has been advocating for the rights on children for 60 years

      o     The basic premise of the Convention is that children are born with
            “fundamental freedoms and the inherent rights of all human beings”
            (Child’s Rights Information Network)

A police force unit known as the Women and Juvenile Unit was created to assist
     victims of various abuses; the name was changed to the Domestic Violence
     Victim Support Unit in 1998 (Selby, 2008)

      o     The unit works closely with the Department of Social Welfare

Children’s Rights Information Network. Convention on the rights on the child. Retrieved on May

       13, 2009, from


Child Welfare Information Gateway (2009). Child abuse and neglect. Retrieved on May 15,

       2009, from

Fayorsey, C. Poverty and the denial of the Ghanian child’s basic human rights. Centre for Social

       Policy Studies, University of Ghana, Legon. Retrieved on May 11, 2009, from

Integrated Regional Information Networks (2004). Ghana-Gambia: sex slave children trafficked

       by Ghanian fishermen. Retrieved on May 11, 2009, from

Kempe, C. H. Retrieved on May 15, 2009, from


Selby, H. (2008). Children and abuse: an issue not fully unveiled. Ghanian Chronicle. Retrieved

       on May 11, 2009, from


United Nations Children Fund (2008). At a glance: Ghana. Retrieved on May 11, 2009, from

United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children (2003).

       Child abuse and neglect: the national scope of the problem. Retrieved on May 15, 2009,


United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Children (2003).

       Child abuse prevention and treatment act. Retrieved on May 15, 2009, from

United States Department of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs (2009). Ghana.

       Retrieved on May 11, 2009, from

Wikipedia (2008). Caning. Retrieved on May 12, 2009, from

Wikipedia (2008). Hawking. Retrieved on May 12, 2009, from

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