Let the Beautiful Buds Bloom | Daily News

Let the Beautiful Buds Bloom

Protecting all children from abuse is the responsibility of the whole society. Therefore, the unconditional fight and the enforcement of laws against child abusers should be strengthened, Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control State Minister and the Chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle said.

State Minister Dr. Fernandopulle expressed her regret about the sale and abuse of a 15-year-old girl through the internet. Around 30 people have been arrested for selling and abusing her. It is the responsibility of everyone to create an environment where there is no possibility for such incidents to happen again.

Dr. Fernandopulle pointed out that according to Section 360 of the Penal Code, anyone who incites child abuse can be either imprisoned for more than 10 years or fined or both, but the law against child abuse should be further tightened.

The State Minister stressed that it is the responsibility of all to create a social environment in which abusers cannot even look at children and that all avenues for child abuse should be prevented. The Child Protection Authority has an important role in this regard and should be able to take all necessary measures to protect children in a systematic manner.

“COVID-19 has increased frequent accessibility to the internet for children. The most serious issue that has arisen is some groups are subtly attempting to sexually and emotionally abuse children which could be detrimental to their future,” she said.

National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) Chairman Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana stated that during the first six months of this year, the NCPA had received 4,000 complaints related to abuse and sexual molestation of minors. During the same period, 48,000 telephone calls had also been received in this regard. The total number of complaints received during the last year was 8,165. He expressed these views during some recent interviews conducted with the electronic media.

According to recent local media reports, 32 suspects including a former State Finance Minister from the Maldives, a Deputy Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman in the Anuradhapura District, a law enforcement officer, a Buddhist Monk and a consultant cardiologist were arrested in connection with trafficking the 15-year-old girl for prostitution.

Among the arrested were the girl’s mother, and drivers and a designer who had worked on the advertisements which promoted the victim online. The former Maldivian Minister had paid for the underage girl’s services, while a hotel manager had provided a room. A 45-year-old owner and a 43-year-old finance manager of a website were also arrested. The suspects were residents of Panadura and Piliyandala respectively. The child had been trafficked over the internet for three months.

Two years ago scholars attached to the Ragama Medical Faculty pointed out that if a male is once abused, he would abuse their younger siblings as well. Such incidents have been reported to state hospitals. Around 72 percent of abuses fall under the category of sexual abuse. Children from dysfunctional families, motherless families (either mother dead or abroad), families with separated parents, divorced families etc. are vulnerable to abuse. A total of 49 percent of child abuse cases take place at their homes. The scholars educated journalists on child abuse during a seminar held at the Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA).

Another common type of child abuse, which is the release of videos containing various child abuse activities to social media, started to report from Sri Lanka with the outbreak of COVID-19. Those video clips contained forcing children to drink liquor, and also forcing them to handle dangerous weapons such as sharp knives etc. But when law enforcement officers caught these culprits, they got away stating that those acts were not real and just ‘acting’. In one instance, a youngster and the mother who were held responsible for forcing a child to drink liquor said it was not liquor but only a soft drink that was in the beer can when the video was shot.

It is the responsibility of all print and electronic media in Sri Lanka to do follow-ups in connection with child abuse cases that catch people’s attention and inform the public of the punishments given to the culprits through the judiciary. Sri Lankan people need to be educated on rules, regulations and laws in connection with child abuse.

* Child abuse is not just physical violence directed at a child. It is any form of maltreatment by an adult, which is violent or threatening for the child. This includes neglect. When child abuse occurs at home and the abuser is, for example, the child’s parent or caregiver, this is a form of domestic violence. The three types of child abuse are mental, verbal and physical abuse.

* The most visible form of abuse is physical abuse. This kind of abuse is condemned by almost everyone. The most common forms of abuse include hitting, throwing and scalding, even suffocation is on the list.

* The worst combination of any three types of maltreatment indicates that physical neglect, physical abuse, and verbal abuse have the greatest impact on the child’s perception of his present and future life. Emotional or psychological abuse is the most difficult type of abuse to detect.

* An abuser could be anyone. It can be someone you know or someone you work with. It could be staff who care for your child, like the nurse or care assistant at your home. It could be your family or friends.

* But children can be protected. Talk about body parts early with your children. Teach them that some body parts are private. Teach your child body boundaries. Tell your child that body secrets are not okay. Tell your child that no one should take pictures of their private parts. Teach your child how to get out of scary or uncomfortable situations. This is the only way out.

* Give permission to say “No” and tell. Help children identify trusted adults. Set body boundaries. Teach children telephone skills. Bringing them up inside a golden cage will not protect them.

* The NCPA head urged the public to forward any complaints in this connection to its 24-hour toll-free hotline 1929.

* 1929 telephone helpline can be contacted through any telecom provider, from anywhere in the country, at any time, on any day in Sinhala, Tamil, or English languages.

* 1929 receives information on child abuse and maltreatment and refers them to the appropriate law enforcement agencies for necessary action.

* Confidential telephone counselling services are available for children with any issue.

* 1929 responds not only to the emergency needs of the children but also to link them to appropriate services for their long-term care and rehabilitation.

* Information gathered through 1929 is referred for investigation and appropriate relief provided by various government stakeholders in child protection. The progress of these relief mechanisms is closely supervised by the sensitive and well-trained staff of the NCPA making sure that the best interest of the child is ensured.

* Chairman – National Child Protection Authority
Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana
Tele : +94 11 2 778 911 – 12 – 14 (Ext:122)
Fax : +94 11 2 778 767

Email : [email protected] / [email protected]

Postal Address

National Child Protection Authority, No. 330, Thalawathugoda Road, Madiwela, Sri Jayawardenapura, Sri Lanka.

Tele: +94 11 2 778 911 – 12 – 14
Fax : +94 11 2 778 915
Email : [email protected]
Web : www.childprotection.gov.lk

 


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