The Public Affairs Unit (PAU)and the Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Volta Regional Police Command have begun an intensive school sensitization programme in Ho, to reduce the increasing number of sexually-related abuses against pupils, ahead of the Easter Break and beyond.
The engagement is targeted at both primary and junior high schools to educate them on the common ploys adopted by sexual abusers to exploit them which has serious consequences.
The Team first engaged the Philip Akpo R.C. Basic School and continued to the Ho Kpodzi E.P. Primary School in Ho to sensitize about 740 pupils for the first day.
Speaking to the pupils, the Coordinator in charge of DOVVSU in the Volta region, ASP Faustina Awumey indicated that, in recent times sexual offences are not only limited to the girl child as previously perceived but are extended to boys as well. A typical case in point is the sentencing of 40-year-old Wisdom Atiledza to Eight years imprisonment for sodomizing a 9-year-old boy in Aflao in January 2022, she cited.
ASP Awumey further informed the pupils that the perpetrators are mostly persons familiar or related to them, and cautioned the pupils to be suspicious of everybody including caregivers, teachers, relatives, tenants, barbers, religious leaders among others.
According to the DOVVSU coordinator, the perpetrators of this crime mostly resort to the use of threats and gifts as means to lure the children into taking advantage of their vulnerabilities. ASP Awumey also mentioned that children who go hawking could also become victims. She advised the children who hawk to desist from entering rooms of their buyers and always stay alert outside while serving their customers.
The Deputy Coordinator of DOVVSU ASP Juliana Mawusi Wiah on her part touched on the effects of defilement on victims. According to her, most of the victims end up with unwanted pregnancies, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, fistula, depression, or trauma. She advised the teachers not to coach students when cases are to be reported to the police or interfere with evidence by tidying up abused children.
DSP Effia Tenge encouraged the pupils to report abusers immediately they encounter such incidents because when they refuse to report, the pepetrator is emboldened to continue with the abuse.
She also advised the teachers to show interest in notable changes in school children and report sexual-related abuses to the Police for swift action.
The campaign is expected to be replicated in the coming days and weeks. The team would move to churches, mosques, community-based groups, PTA’s to have similar interactive sections with parents and guardians to help reverse the trend.