An official of the Gender, Children and Social Protection Ministry says the mother of a four-year-old girl defiled at Assin Adadientem in the Central Region should not have reported the matter to the chief of the town.
Victoria Natsu, who is attached to the Domestic Violence Unit of the Gender Ministry, said being a criminal case, it should have been reported to the police to facilitate swift action.
Monica Nyarko, the mother of the four-year-old girl, told Joy News’ Maxwell Agbagba that the chief of the area is obstructing justice in the matter.
She told Maxwell at the St Francis-Xavier Hospital in Assin Fosu, where the girl is receiving treatment that, the chief says action cannot be taken against the man who defiled her daughter because the community deity says the suspect -- a man identified only as Kwabena -- is innocent.
Calls for the Gender Ministry to secure justice for the girl have since intensified.
However, speaking on current affairs programme, PM Express, Victoria Natsu said although the matter is reaching her outfit, the mother took a wrong first step.
“I am just hearing this story. The first question I asked is why would the mother report the case to a chief? Because for defilement cases [they] must go to the police.
“At least the police would have picked the gentleman up and then started an investigation process,” she said.
She has urged that the matter should be reported to the police first before the Gender Ministry intervenes.
Meanwhile, a local journalist, Oscar Dadzie, has told Joy News rape is common in the Assin Fosu municipality.
“It is very rampant here. This year alone, a similar incident happened at Assin Ayitey in which a teacher defiled a 3-year-old child. Within a week, at Assin Lartey, a seven-month-old baby was defiled by her 24-year-old elder brother.
“Also, at Assin Adiembra, a 13-year-old pupil was defiled by a 52-year-old man. Then again in Assin Awireso, a 15-year-old girl was defiled by her stepfather in the bush as they were going to tap palm wine," he recounted.
In another incident, the journalist said at Assin Manso, a 13-year-old iced water seller was gang-raped by three guys to the point of unconsciousness. She was dumped in the forest and her decomposed body was later found.
Again, last week a 16-year-old girl on her way to dump refuse was kidnapped and raped by a 32-year-old man for three days without food or water.
According to him, whenever such incidents happen, some of the chiefs sit and plan how to settle them without going to the police station.
A human rights activist, Denis Armah, has blamed the situation on poor law enforcement.
He expects the police to be proactive in dealing with rape, defilement and other second-degree felony offences that are swept under the carpet.
“Criminal justice should not be left for chiefs. The Courts Act and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Act provides some rules for alternative dispute resolution procedure to be applied to some criminal cases, but there is a qualification that you cannot have it for such offences like rape or defilement,” he said.