Stakeholders task teachers, others to report cases of child abuse
STAKEHOLDERS on child’s health and right protections have urged all Lagos State school administrators, counselors, teachers, social welfare officers among other to report any case of suspected child abuse, molestation or neglect to the appropriate authorities.
The stakeholders, who met recently at the Child Protection and Rights of the Child programme, in Lagos, said the directive was in line with state government’s efforts to stem the tide of child abuse in the schools and other public places.
They informed that school personnel play an important role in the lives of children and could tell when they are in distress, especially from molestations.
Director of the Child Department, Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation Lagos State, Fadairo Alaba, said that Lagos State government was committed to ensuring that child’s rights are protected.
Alaba said they have suggestion boxes where one can file a report, saying that once the person file the report, the child and family may become eligible to receive a wide variety of services that will improve the family’s ability to care for the child.
The family may be provided parenting classes, counseling, treatment for substance abuse medical services, anger management education and other services designed to meet the family’s specific needs.
However, she noted that the identity of anybody who files report of child abuse or molestation would be kept confidential.
Alaba said: “We visit all schools in Lagos to see thing for ourselves because child abuse is not only for sexual abuse or molestation but if conducive environment is not provided for children it is an abuse. We make efforts to see that our children are protected. We partner with ministry of health because when there is child abuse, it is the ministry that conduct test for us in terms of health aspect of the child. If a child does not have freedom it is an abuse every child has a right for freedom, expression, and freedom of education.”
Continuing, she said: “We organize workshops and seminars for those in position to control children. We sign memorandum of understanding (MoU) with school managements to ensure that child’s right is protected. We have said that children should not be used in any pretest. We work with ministry of education because once a child is sexually abused we work together with ministry of education to transfer the child to another school because of stigmatization against the child,” she said.
Chief Executive Officer, (CEO) Child Health Advocacy Initiative, Lola Alonge, said that the programme was to educate people to avoid be involved in child abuse practices.
Alonge said: “Child abuse is increasing in our society today. We had a case where a father impregnated his three biological daughters. So, we feel that it is time for rise against such evil act.
“Neglect or threat is harm to a child’s health or welfare due to failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, or medical care. The failure to protect a child from a known or potential risk of harm is also considered as neglect.
“Treatment involving cruelty or suffering that a reasonable person would recognize as excessive is also recognized as abuse. For instance, including starving a child as punishment, locking a child in a closet, or teaching a child to assist in criminal activities is regarded as maltreatment.
“Also physical abuse harm or threatened harm on a child through non accident injury. For example of physical abuse include beating, kicking, punching and burning among others.”