More than 285 children in West Nile region have been abused according to African Network for the prevention and protection against Child Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN), a local NGO. Cases of abuse range from emotional abuse, bodily harm to denial of rights.
These abuses combined with neglect have left deep scars on them which has led to school drop-out and some becoming street children. The programme assistant for ANPPCAN, Mr Geoffrey Dramani, said last week during a workshop, the earlier, abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal and break the traumatic cycle—rather than perpetuate it.
“By learning about common signs of abuse and what you can do to intervene, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life. So far from January this year, we have 25 cases now. But we have the challenge of some community members who have a negative attitude towards protection of child rights,” he said.
He added that some members opt to negotiate criminal cases like defilement and rape of children.
Due to the increasing cases of children abuse in homes, the children in Arua district petitioned the leaders to be proactive in protecting their rights.
They argued that violence against children affects their education negatively and defilers should be sentenced to not less than seven years.
A student leader from Arua Public Secondary School, Ms Esther Ayero, said parents should take the responsibility of protecting children who are growing in a world with pressures of modernity.
The police officer in charge of Child and Family Protection Unit, Mr Nixon Ruva, said responsible parenthood would reduce such cases.