DOI: 10.1111/chso.12830 ISSN: 0951-0605

Child sexual abuse in Ghana: A multi‐methods exploratory study

Garnet Linda Naa Adukwei Acquaye, Emmanuel Nii‐Boye Quarshie, Joana Salifu Yendork, Kwaku Oppong Asante
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Education
  • Health (social science)


Using a qualitative multi‐methods approach, this study explored the offence, survivor and perpetrator characteristics, and the lived experiences of child and adolescent survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) in Ghana. We analysed the contents of local media reports of CSA cases from January 2015 to December 2020 in Ghana, after which we conducted semi‐structured interviews involving five female child and adolescent survivors of CSA. The media content analysis identified 529 eligible reports involving female (n = 516) and male (n = 13) survivors aged 11–18 years who knew the perpetrators. The perpetrators were all‐male youth and middle‐aged adults employed in low‐income status occupations. Defilement was the most reported sexual offence; the survivors were more likely to come from single‐parent families experiencing poverty and economic hardship. The perpetrators employed multiple methods to coerce and elicit compliance from their victims: confidence approaches, violence (blitz methods) and gifts. Content analysis showed that most of the survivors attributed their victimisation to family poverty and dysfunctional parent–child relationships. These findings underscore a need to develop prevention strategies that empower young females and males to identify, escape or avoid (potential) sexual predators and encourage reporting and disclosure of CSA victimisation to formal support institutions.

More from our Archive