UNICEF seeks for safe, secure outlets to report cases of violence against children

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UNICEF

The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Monday urged the Kaduna State Government to create safe and secure outlets for children to report cases of violence against them.

Mr Denis Onoise, a Child Protection Specialist with UNICEF, who made the appeal, said it was important for victims to feel free and safe while reporting such cases.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Onoise spoke in Zaria at the opening of a two-day awareness workshop on the protection of children from violence and exploitation in Kaduna State.

The specialist noted that Nigeria has high rate of child abuse, with girls more likely to experience sexual and physical violence while boys suffer from emotional and physical violence.

Onoise mentioned that majority of those who experienced physical, sexual and emotional violence in childhood did so on multiple occasions.

He added that most perpetrators of Violence Against Children (VAC) were not strangers, but people close to the children such as parents, teachers, religious leaders and relatives.

Onoise said that a survey conducted by UNICEF in 2014, showed that Nigeria has high prevalence of VAC, with six out of every 10 children experiencing some form of violence.

He said that the survey was conducted on 4,203 children aged 13-24 with 1,766 females and 2,437 males based on physical violence, sexual violence and emotional violence.

“Before the age of 18, one in two children experience physical violence, one in four girls and one in ten boys experience sexual violence while one in six girls and one in five boys experience emotional violence.

“We are not saying that parents cannot correct their children, but not to the extent of punching, choking, whipping, intentional burning of the child or threatening a child with a gun or other weapons which results to physical violence.

” It is also a big concern that children are raped or pressured to engage in sexual activity.

“Emotional violence is also a big concern as some parents or caregivers ridicule or put down their children or ward; neglecting the child and not showing love and care to a child leads to emotional violence,” he said.

He urged parents and caregivers to support their children and report any incidence of VAC to the appropriate authority.