DEFENDING AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN FROM CHILD ABUSE

It is important to reflect on the Health, Safety, Development, Rights, Protection, and Essential Education of Nigeria’s next generation, the dreamers, innovators and leaders of tomorrow. This reflecting work must begin at home.So if we are serious about the defending and protection of Nigeria youngest citizens,we must start by empowering women and bring domestic violence to a halt.Ensuring that children grow up in safe, violence free homes also parents should keep the home values.

Child abuse can take several forms, the four main types are:  physical, sexual, psychological, and neglect. Neglect is the most common form of maltreatment and bases for child abuse. Child Sexual Abuse and physical assault, this is now a societal menace which gives a big concern comprises of defilement, indecent acts, attempted defilement, child trafficking, child sex tourism, child prostitution and child pornography.

The current statistics indicated that Child Sexual Abuse is on the rise. It is therefore necessary that this vice, be brought to the limelight role of Children in combating CSA.  The greatness of a country is not measured by its wealth, status or power but rather by the state of its children. However, the vice of Child Sexual Abuse has robbed children of their dreams, aspirations and dignity.

The media has been playing a significant role in forming and influencing people’s attitudes and behaviour on sexual abuse and physical assault on children.The role of the media is increasing society’s awareness and response to child abuse and neglect. Of particular note was the part played by news and features that reported on specific child abuse cases, research and intervention strategies. Such media attention on child abuse has positively influenced public, professionals and political responses to the circumstances in which children and young people find themselves.

Child abuse require commitment from various sectors across homes, schools, communities and beyond to address the problem. The most challenging fact with child abuse is that, in most cases, the children are abused in places that should be safe spaces for them, such as at home and school. In most cases, the perpetrators are people who should be protecting the children, like parents, guardians and teachers,religious.

The signs of child sexual abuse may be hard to spot, particularly if a child is being threatened. To make sure that children are protected, it’s worth being aware of the signs that might suggest a child is being sexually exploited. Signs of grooming and child sexual exploitation

Signs of  sexual abuse on the child or young person:

  • going missing for periods of time or regularly returning home late
  • skipping school or being disruptive in class
  • appearing with unexplained gifts or possessions that cannot be accounted for
  • experiencing health problems that may indicate a sexually transmitted infection
  • having mood swings and changes in temperament
  • using drugs and alcohol
  • displaying inappropriate sexualised behaviours, such as over familiarity with strangers, dressing in a sexualised manner or sending sexualised images by mobile phone (“sexting”)
  • they may also show signs of unexplained physical harm such as bruising and cigarette burns

 Effects of child sexual abuse on the victim(s) include:

guilt and self-blame, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia, fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor’s visits, etc.), self-esteem issues, sexual dysfunction, chronic pain, addiction, self-injury, suicidal ideation,  depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety other mental illnesses and physical injury to the child, among other problems.

The unique situation that gives hope to the response against child abuse in  Nigeria now is that government committiment to advance and support all efforts in the communities to curb child abuse. Many jurisdictions and professional bodies have made exceptions to standard requirements for confidentiality and legal privileges in instances of child abuse. Medical professionals, including doctors, therapists, and other mental health workers typically owe a duty of confidentiality to their patients and clients, either by law or the standards of professional ethics, and cannot disclose personal information without the consent of the individual concerned.

While child protection should not be the responsibility of the State alone, there is need for committed leaders in response and non-governmental organisations concerns. The success of any development intervention lies in its ability to command the support of the societal leaders, be it at local, national or international level.

Preventing abuse

Advice on how to protect children:

  • helping children understand their bodies and sex in a way that is appropriate to their age
  • developing an open and trusting relationship so that they feel free or relate to you about anything
  • explaining the difference between safe secrets (such as a surprise party) and unsafe secrets (things that make them unhappy or uncomfortable)
  • teaching children to respect family boundaries such as privacy in sleeping, dressing and bathing
  • teaching them self-respect and how to say NO
  • supervising internet and television use

In addition, the need for coordination on issues of child protection is of paramount importance. The various sectors – Education, Social Welfare, Health, Youth Department and others should feel the need to be more and more coordinated because they are all targeting the same children but not talking to each other and not understanding what the other is doing. This creates a situation in which certain parts of the communities are overwhelmed by interventions while others are left out.

The government should call on schools and parents to work together with traditional/community leaders to curb child abuse in the various communities.

 

  1. a) To the Children:
  • To be informed on acts of sexual abuse by understanding Laws concerning CSA and other forms of child abuse.
  • To Report cases of sexual abuse.
  • After school, young girls and boys should not walk alone they should walk in groups.
  • Children should avoid gifts from strangers or agree to go anywhere with them.
  • Children Report to nearest police station, to teachers, to parents or scream when attacked
  • Avoid company of bad friends because they might take them to dangerous places
  • Listen to parents advice and dress decently
  • Children Should not accept to be sent to the shop or any place at night or lonely and bushy streets
  • Children Should not engage themselves in sexual behaviors
  • Children Should not watch pornography

 

  1. b) To Parents :
  • Be mindful of the welfare of children. Do not allow them to go to school alone and constantly talk to them to know their problems
  • Parents should know what time a child leaves the house and what time they come back so that in case of any delay they can investigate
  • Give attention to children and respect their rights
  • Parents should avoid sending their children at night or accept their children to be sent to shops or any place at night, lonely and bushy streets
  • Parents Should be vigilant that children are not engage themselves in sexual behaviors or watch pornography.

 

The Role of the Community in combating CSA:

 

  • Promote awareness by having open and frank discussions with parents and children about CSA.
  • Expose the culprits within the community.
  • Be watchdogs of the society to drive out sexual abusers and change community attitudes towards child sexual abuse.

 

The Role of the Government:

 

  • The judicial system should be more efficient by expediting cases speedily.
  • More resource investment to cater for the complexity of children’s cases and the need for child-friendly police officers.
  • The Children’s Department should be challenged to empower.

children in their role in combating  CSA using an analogy of ‘one stone is just a stone but many stones can build a house’ the children should  unite to fight the monster of child sexual abuse.

We need not shy away teaching and discussing with our children sex education and STI  (Sexual Transmission Infections)

There are more issues that require child protection, and some of them are issues such as dangerous behaviours that children indulge in. For instance, large number of induced abortions among young girls below the age of 20, this  signaling very high rates of adolescent sexual activity which require commitment to protect children from such vices.

This indicates that children are engaging in dangerous or risky behaviours and there is need to protect them from such. In this case, whether the children realise the dangers of their behaviours or not, child protection interventions should start from raising awareness and making kids conscious of the dangers of their behaviours and supporting them to make better choices.

In order to support this efforts , the Lagos state government child protection unit ( Ministry Of Social Development ) has resolved to the use of radio, television as a platform where child protection issues are been discussed also Family child care social unit are in all local government offices for the purpose to influence change  both behavioural and policy. These interventions are expected to promote community action in reducing child abuse .

Nelson Mandela suffered in prison and finally got out to increase the struggle to free his people from apartheid and poverty, In a similar manner, parents keep the home values , governments, community leaders and teachers should keep fighting to help children survive, live and reach happiness in PROTECTING AND FREE OUR CHILDREN FROM ALL THESE SOCIETAL VICES.

 

 

Courtesy : IYANIWURA CHILDREN CARE FOUNDATION (ICCF)

info@iccf.org.ng ,matilda@iccf.org.ng

07083350451 ,08153006605

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