Tuesday, 17 October 2017 15:57

BOTSWANA: Reluctance to Report Child Abuse Worrying

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Ocotber 16 - Gaborone - Reluctance and failure to report incidents of child abuse has been attributed to the abuse' persistence.

According to EU Ambassador to Botswana and SADC, Mr Alexander Baum, there was thus greater need for all stakeholders in the fight against child abuse to step up efforts to enhance and promote case reporting and also improve the service response.

Mr Baum, who was delivering a keynote address recently at a breakfast meeting held to disseminate the findings and recommendations of the 'Ke boikarabelo jwa rona' project said because of the low reporting of the cases, it was not easy to pick trends of the incidents.

He ascribed the low reporting to such issues as the instability of the family structure.

Further, the ambassador highlighted the EU' stance on child abuse, saying the issues of child rights were among those that the EU took seriously.

On the 'Ke boikarabelo jwa rona' project, Mr Baum explained that the objective of the two-year programme included among others, to improve the implementation of the Children's Act through increased, evidence-based high level social policy and cultural dialogue.

He said the project also sought to improve the institutional capacity of service providers and child protection committees to respond to sexual abuse cases; as well as to improve the rate of case reporting in the community by advocating for effective implementation of the Children's Act, and raising awareness on the impact of child sexual abuse.

He noted that the project, which was being carried out by Stepping Stones International, brought together stakeholders among whom were civil society organisations and government departments mandated with the safeguarding of children's rights.

Speaking earlier, the executive director of Stepping Stones International, Ms Lisa Jamu labelled the violation of children's rights a real problem that called for concerted efforts from all sectors of society.

She noted that time had come for such violations to stop being seen as mere statistics, calling on communities to understand that victims were human and therefore needed all the help they could get to overcome whatever ordeal they could have suffered.

Citing child sexual abuse and exploitation in particular as a major problem, Ms Jamu said the issue remained a global legal, health, social and developmental problem.

The director of Department of Social Protection, Ms Ruth Radibe said it was necessary to work more towards preventing child abuse instead of waiting to address its effects once it had occurred.

Ms Radibe said child abuse was one area that was shrouded in secrecy. She observed how critical it was for the secrecy to be done away with, indicating that achieving that would add on to efforts to completely end it.

Source: allAfrica

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