Tema The Reverend Ebenezer Tetteh Kpalam, Clinical Psychologist has called on religious institutions to profile the background of people they engage as child service teachers.
He said such background checks would enable the churches to protect children against abusers; “conduct background checks on such people to ensure that they are not people who are prone to abusing children”.
Rev. Kpalam who is the Church of Pentecost Pastor gave the advice in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Tema ahead of the launch of the book titled: “Our Children: the place of child protection in the church’s ministry”.
He added that every church must invest in training child counsellors who would be able to identify and handle abuse among children in the church and the community they operated in.
He also called on churches to discourage the habit of handling child sex abuse cases without involving the police and health institutions noting that some refused to report such incidents due to fear of being stigmatized by others.
Rev. Kpalam said, “Because of stigma, they hide such cases, which prevent the children from receiving the needed psychological help to come out of the trauma”.
He said that as part of the mandate of the church to protect children, they must educate leaders and create awareness among the congregation on what constitute child abuse, how to identify one, how to handle it, and where to report to.
Rev. Kpalam further noted that churches must build the capacity of parents on the acceptable forms of disciplining children to prevent abusing them unknowingly.
He said statistics from the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund’s (UNICEF) Child Protection Guidelines for Health Workers 2018, had revealed that over 90 percent of children in Ghana had suffered some form of abuse in their lives.
“Parents must know what constitute abuse and how to avoid it; they usually do it in the name of discipline,” he said.
He said children must also not be left out in the child abuse awareness creation as they were key players in their own protection and therefore needed to be taught how to protect themselves against abuse from others.
Source: Ghana News Agency