Inadequate knowledge of childhood development, parenting skills and unsuitable parental attitudes have ensued abusive behaviors towards children. Different situations such as unwanted pregnancies, poverty and poor ability to empathize with young age unknowingly raise the likelihood of abuse.

Corporal punishment is an abuse against a child; employing minors in mines, tea farms, stone quarries etc amount to child labour. Unfortunately, all these abuses manifest in our Rwandan communities.

Despite various government initiatives to deal with the root causes of child abuse, and legal actions against abusers, individual responsibility and parental care are essential in proper upbringing of children free from abuses, and bringing perpetuators to justice.

It is very miserable and inhuman that children are being abused by adults, who are supposed to be loving and caring for them. Physical damages are being made to children along with devastating emotional wounds as a result of psychological torture, parental neglect, and sexual abuse as well as domestic and family violence.

According to statistics from Isange One Stop Centre, a programme that is aimed at providing psychosocial, medical, police and legal services to adult and child survivors of gender based violence and child abuse; a total number of 704 cases of child abuse were recorded in December 2017 alone, in all the 44 centres across the country. This was an increase compared to 636 cases recorded at Isanges in the previous month of November.

All these abuses are related to sexual, physical, psychological abuse and neglect. These have serious consequence to a child development and psychological behavior throughout their life cycle.

Every Rwandan child (and of the world) merits the opportunity to grow up well and safe, we have the responsibility to protect and support our children against abuse and mistreatments.

Abuse makes victims different people; it damages young lives and it takes a long time for them to recover. The appropriate defense against child abuse is making sure people know what to do and where to report after the abusive act. That’s why the law is there—to protect the vulnerable; that’s why Isange centres were established in 44 hospitals across the country to provide free psycho-socio and medico-legal services to victims of GBV and child abuse.

Experts say victims of child abuse and neglect are more likely to commit crimes as juveniles and adults. Overall, emotional effects caused by child abuse and even witnessing abuse can result in long-term and short-term effects that ultimately affect a child’s upbringing and development.

The general public should work with local authorities to report the suspects immediately to ensure a proper follow up and justice.

Parents and guardians should be the primary source of safety, security, love, understanding and support; taking responsibilities to discern the kind of house-workers you trust with the children.

Rwanda National Police (RNP) has facilitated the public with easy means of communication like a toll-free line; 3029 (Isange One Stop Centre), 116 (child help-line) and 112 for emergency, and other social media (twitter, facebook and online crime reporting) platforms. We ought to make use of these platforms to groom future and healthy leaders.

The Express News


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