Covid-19: Fathers cited in violence against children

Friday May 15 2020
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Abuse. According to the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the country is experiencing alarming increase in cases of violence against children with fathers as the main perpetrators. FILE PHOTO

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, has said the country is experiencing increased cases of violence against children (VAC) with fathers being the main perpetrators.

Ms Peace Regis Mutuuzo, the Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, blamed the problem on falling income in homes, poor communication skills and not being able to stay together.

Citing the recent data from Uganda Police Force, the minister said violence against children and gender-based violence (GBV) have worsened.

“In just four months; January to April, cases of violence against children were 1,967,” she said while addressing journalists yesterday in Kampala.

Ms Mutuuzo said the figure is almost 60 per cent of total cases (3,037) of violence against children reported last year.

She expressed worries that by end of the year, the country could have one of the worst figures on domestic violence.
Of the cases, girls make up 1,148 compared to boys at 766. The lead perpetrator was reported as the father, followed by non-adults and the mother.

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Ms Mutuuzo asked cultural and religious leaders not to give up on promoting awareness about age-old values that have kept the community structure in balance for ages.

“I call upon religious and cultural leaders to continue raising awareness about spiritual and cultural values of respect for one another, and dignity of the persons, among others,” she added.

The minister also asked people to report the cases to local authorities and the police.

“These acts of violence degrade the dignity of humanity and this calls on all duty bearers in the prevention and response to ensure that the perpetrators of these vices are dealt with decisively and in a timely manner in accordance with the law,” she said.

Parental guidelines

The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, has also developed parenting guidelines on the roles and responsibilities of all family members.

The guidelines highlight resolving conflicts constructively, and collective decision making, among other issues.
Ms Mutuuzo said the ministry will disseminate the guidelines to parents when the lockdown is lifted.

“Where the guidelines cannot be followed, parents can seek psychological support services through the community development officers and probation officers at district and lower levels,” she added.

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