Presently, defilement, defined as sex with a girl younger than sixteen years, is a crime in Ghana. (Criminal Offences Act, 1960).

Defilement’s definition is gender specific, such that only a girl can be defiled, and a boy cannot be defiled. There is no consent requirement for defilement because children cannot consent to sexual intercourse.

The Penal Code section prohibiting rape describes it as “unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent” (emphasis added) or if consent is obtained through any force, threat, or intimidation.

“The key ingredients of the offence of defilement include proof of the age of the complainant, proof of penetration and proof that the appellant was the perpetrator of the offence.