Defilement in Ghana (A review of the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) Report, 2015)


According to the Criminal Offences Act-1960 (Act 29), section 101, Defilement of a child under 16 years of age:

  1.      For the purposes of this Act, defilement is the natural or unnatural carnal knowledge of any child under sixteen years of age.
  2.      Whoever naturally or unnaturally carnally knows any child under sixteen years of age, whether with or without his or her consent commits an offense and shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than seven years and not more than twenty-five years? (Ghana Legal)

Defilement is any sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 16 years old, with or without the child’s consent.

The overall impression being created now is that defilement cases have become more rampant, some leading to deaths and permanent deformity of victims.

According to Mwaba Kasese, defilement is not restricted to an actual sexual act with a minor.” It includes the involvement dependent, developmentally immature children and adolescents in any sexual activity which they (children) do not fully comprehend and are thus unable to give informed consent”. (Mwaba HKasese,1999)

The effect of defilement on the victim includes pains in the private parts, HIV/AIDS, Syphilis and other Sexually Transmitted Infections etc. Subsequently, the victim is likely to experience long-term psycho-somatic problems like anxiety, nightmares, bed-wetting, and fear.

We must all come to the realization that both our actions and inactions contribute to the state of our society. Therefore, all hands are needed on deck in the fight against defilement. We would also like to call on the Law Enforcement Agencies in the country to punish all perpetrators of defilement without fear or favor once they are found guilty by the law court.

Data on the defilement cases as reported by the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit in 2015


Defilement cases in this Country must be fairly tackled.  The Government, to begin with, must mete out stiffer punishments/penalties to culprits. 

And also not ignoring the fact that we all in the society are contributing elements of making Society what it becomes by our actions and inactions. We have a role to play, and as such we must uphold the campaign against the surge of defilement cases in Ghana;  this must be every Ghanaian’s priority.

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