Fred Ngabirano, the Commissioner of Youth and Children Affairs in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development says they have found that most children who are abused come from families riddled with domestic violence.
The Uganda Child Helpline which records cases of child abuse
and other child rights violations has been extended to also capture cases of
violence against women.
Fred Ngabirano, the Commissioner of Youth and Children Affairs
in the Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development says they have found
that most children who are abused come from families riddled with domestic
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This development comes amidst the declining use of probation services
at the district level where officials are supposed to handle such cases, something
that became more visible during the recent COVID-19 lockdowns which came with
restrictions in movement.
Ngabirano says there was increased use of this helpline
at the height of especially the first lockdown in 2020 and since then they have
been recording more complaints than in the pre-pandemic era. The biggest number of
cases recorded are of sexual assault and incest.
Speaking at an event organised by NGO Trans-Cultural Psychosocial Organisation (TPO) to mark the Day of the African Child held every
June, Ngabirano said they had started with the training of officials manning the
line on Friday on how they can effectively handle the two issues concurrently
and be able to quickly link the affected to appropriate solutions.
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officials say that when these cases are recorded they always put
the victims in touch with appropriate caregivers in their communities to offer the necessary support.
But, according to Taban Edward, a Child Care Specialist at
TPO, while a number of children suffer mental distress as a result of some of
the violations that they report through the helpline, access to mental health
services remains limited. He said in some of the 46 districts where the organisation
operates, they have had to train their own mental health professionals to deal with
cases when they are unable to refer them to hospitals.
Apart from that, he says they have embarked on training to
impart parenting skills to families using tools like the Violence Curriculum in
order to cut down on violence. The Violence Against Children (VAC) study highlights
that 4 per cent of children still experience emotional violence whereas 55 per cent of boy
children have experienced physical abuse at some point.