The Ashanti Regional Director of the Social Welfare Department, Mr Benjamin A. Otoo, has advised media houses, particularly local radio stations, to refer sexual violence cases that come to their notice to the police.
He stated that some people had over the years come to trust some media houses more than the police and reported such cases to them instead of going to the police stations.
He noted that instead of referring such cases to the appropriate authorities to take charge, some media organisations had constituted themselves into ‘adjudicating agencies’ to deliberate on such cases.
Mr Otoo was speaking at a day’s training workshop for stakeholders on reducing sexual violence against children. The workshop was organised by Defence for Children International (DCI), a Kumasi-based non-governmental organisation with special interest in children’s right.
While admitting the immense role of the media in creating awareness of the fight against sexual violence, he said there was the need for the media not to take on certain responsibilities that were not within their mandate.
The regional director said it was common now for local radio stations to run programmes, especially in the evening, where people phone in to panels that deliberate on problems in their relationship, and these sometimes also included cases of defilement and rape.
Other participants from the Children and Gender Desk and the security services also supported the call and called on the media to partner other stakeholders in the region to raise awareness of the dangers of sexual violence, particularly against children in the region and the country as a whole.
In a presentation made on behalf of the Ashanti Regional Director of the Attorney General Department, Mr Agyemang Duodo, a representative from the department, enlightened the participants on the harrowing experiences they went through to get hospital forms of sexual violence victims signed by doctors and to get them to testify in court, pointing out that the situation exerted lots of stress on the prosecution.
The department called on medical doctors, particularly those in government hospitals, to help the police and the victims of sexual violence to obtain justice by offering some of their services pro bono (done without asking for payment).
Source: Daily Graphic
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