It has come to light that husbands who live abroad but have their wives resident in Ghana are the most deceived when it comes to paternity fraud, a report by the Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service in the Ashanti Region has uncovered.
Paternity fraud is when a woman knowingly makes her husband/fiancé or boyfriend believe that the children they are taking care of are biologically theirs when she knows same to be false. In most cases, the woman conceals from the real father the truth because he may not be capable of shouldering the burden of child support or it was a one night fling that went wrong and so she feels it best not to inform him.
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According to the DOVVSU report, men in “Abrokyire Awar3e” or burger marriage — having a wife in Ghana while living abroad — are the highest victims of paternity fraud as they are regularly made to believe that they are biological fathers of children when in fact they are not.
The Unit revealed that the fraud is often discovered when paternity tests are done on the children before they get visas to join their fathers abroad. The shocked fathers are often left emotionally traumatised while the confused children face their own psychological problems.
“The cases [ of paternity fraud] are very common with what we call ‘abrokyire awaree’ where the man is outside the country and when he tries to secure visas for their children to join them, DNA shows the children are not his. This affects the emotions of the man and the children involved,” Supt Susana Defy of the Ashanti Region DOVVSU revealed.
She noted that physical abuse of men is on the low as cases of paternity fraud increases, adding that the fraud usually happens at the outset when the women trap the men with pregnancies that are usually not theirs so that the men marry them.
Other domestic abuse cases on the rise in the Ashanti Region, she revealed, include defilement, rape, neglect of children and physical assault of women.