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Crime & Punishment Sat, 3 Jun 2006

Don't settle rape cases out of court - Dwamena-Aboagye

Anyinasin (E/R), June 3, GNA - Mr Kwame Dwamena-Aboagye, a consultant of the Ark Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has advised parents to desist from settling rape cases in their homes, but to report them to the police.

He explained that the essence of the proper handling of such cases was not only to punish the offenders but most importantly it was to ensure that the victims were given proper medical treatment and counselling to enable them to overcome the long term effect of the trauma they suffered.

Mr Dwamena-Aboagye warned that opinion leaders who attempted to protect rapists by settling such cases out of court could be charge for condoning the crime.

Speaking at a community durbar organized by the Noble Youth Club (NYC), a community based organisation (CBO) at Anyinasin in the East Akim District on Friday, he said the Club was one of the CBOs trained by the Ark Foundation under its Rights and Voice Initiative (RAVI) Project to educate members of their communities on the rights based approach to development.

Mr Dwamena-Aboagye explained that under the project, the trained CBO members were expected to lead their communities to identify their felt needs and also the governmental agencies which were responsible for the provision of the projects and to follow up to ensure that those agencies provide their communities with such projects. He said the Ark Foundation did not provide the funding for the projects but only provide transport fares for the CBOs to visit the offices of the identified governmental agencies, which were supposed to support them with such projects.

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Mr Eric Okyere, an executive member of the NYC, said a survey conducted by his organization indicated that 85 percent of members of the community preferred a clinic to be provided for the community, 65 per cent wanted the roads to be rehabilitated, 50 per cent wanted a public toilet, 72 per cent wanted formal employment, while 10 per cent wanted a police station.

He said most teachers and other educationists in the community wanted a library, while a substantial number of the respondents blamed teenage pregnancy as one of the major causes of school dropout among girls in the community.

In his welcoming address, the Vice-Chairman of the Club, Mr Kwame Gyantu-Darkwa, explained that the main aim of the durbar was to educate the people on their civic rights and responsibilities to enhance the development of the community.

He said the durbar was also to provide a platform for members of the community to interact with members of the club and see how the community and the club could forge ahead in their efforts to support the development of the township.

In his closing remarks, Nana Obeng Asare, Asonahene of Anyinasin, who chaired the function, observed that often, persons who offered themselves to promote the development of communities were called names and many impediments were put in their way. He, however, encouraged the club not to allow such pronouncements to discourage them but rather they should remain focused and assured them of the support of the traditional authorities.

Source: GNA
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