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Sexual Offences Act Is Ambiguous – ICDP

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A Country Representative of the International Child Development Programme, Joyce Lanyoh says the sexual offences act is ambiguous.

According to her, the ambiguity of the law makes it very difficult to take on men who have sex with teenagers.

“We have not made it too clear and again the law is very ambiguous that we are not able to speak about it,” she said.

By law, it is a criminal offence for anyone who is 16 or older to have any kind of sexual contact with someone aged 13, 14 or 15. It is also a criminal offence for both girls and boys aged 13, 14 and 15 to have consensual sex with anyone else aged 13, 14 or 15.

The law further says people in this age group participating in other consensual sexual acts are not committing criminal offences.

This, Madam Lanyoh said made it difficult to prosecute boys who had sex with teenagers since by law at age 16 one is permitted to have sex.

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However, she stressed that people in this group are still teenagers, thus there is a need for a second look at the law.


Speaking in an interview on JoyNews Today on Tuesday, she explained that any time there is an attempt to prosecute these boys or men, the young lady victim claims it is consensual sex.

She added that once the young ladies mention that they’re in love, it limits the chances of taking the boy on.

“Most of the cases we have not done enough advocacy for people to know about this and worse of it all, the girls will say I am in love that is my boyfriend, so please I am in love …Once the girls start saying those things you don’t know where you stand in terms of the law and so it’s a challenge that we are having,” she said.

“We are speaking against it that this particular law should be repealed so that we know in clear terms what happens if you engage in sex and then you do not seek consent,” she told host, Samuel Kojo Brace.

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However, the country representative said some of these teenagers had sex because of lack of education on the matter which forced them to adopt it.

Making reference to previous cases, she stressed that more needs to be done because she has not witnessed “a gentleman who has impregnated a teenager sent to court and charged for such an offense such that we will all see that it’s really an offense.”

Recent data from the Ghana Health Service, indicate that there were 7,618 recorded abortions among teenage girls in 2022. In context, this translates to about 21 abortions per day.

This figure is 10% lower than the 2021 figure of 8,465. For the years 2020, 2021 and 2022, the total number of abortions among teenage girls was 24,108. The average for the three years is 8,036 abortions among teenagers translating to 22 abortions per day and about an abortion every hour of the day.

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