22 Kole children defiled in 90 days, 30 others neglected

Mr Godfrey Odongo, the officer in charge of Kole Child and Family Protection Unit updates stakeholders on the child abuse situation at district headquarters on November 23, 2022. PHOTO | BILL OKETCH

What you need to know:

  • Disturbingly, for many victims, violence comes at the hands of the people they trust – their parents or caregivers, teachers, peers and neighbours.

Boys and girls are at equal risk of physical and emotional abuse in Kole District as the area is seemingly providing a fertile ground for violence against children.

Disturbingly, for many victims, violence comes at the hands of the people they trust – their parents or caregivers, teachers, peers and neighbours.

Data from Kole Child and Family Protection Unit (CFPU) indicates that 22 children have been defiled in the last three months – from September to November. Of these, 11 cases are under investigation, while 11 others are at court level.

The officer in charge of CFPU, Mr Godfrey Odongo, revealed that around the same period, at least 30 cases of child neglect were reported to police.

“17 out of these are still under investigation, while 13 cases have been taken to court,” he said, adding that 11 cases of child desertion were also reported within the last three months.

Of these, six are under investigation while five have been taken to court. Around the same period, 24 cases of domestic violence were reported.

“Eight cases of domestic violence are still under investigation, while 16 have been taken to court. No case of missing children, child labour and child torture was recorded; child stealing; one. The total number of cases of domestic violence and violence against children are 88, and this leaves police with a lot of work to be done,” Mr Odongo said.

He was speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting convened by Joy for Children Uganda (JFCU), a children’s rights organisation, at Kole District headquarters on Wednesday.

Ms Dorah Epila, the community development officer of Ayer Town Council, said most of the cases of child abuse are not reported to the authorities.  This is because perpetrators go to great lengths to conceal their acts, leaving children – especially those who lack the capacity to report or even understand their experience – vulnerable to further exposure.

According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), violence can result in physical injury, sexually transmitted infections, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts and unplanned pregnancy.

Nonetheless, as the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) starts carrying out major rehabilitation of the road that stretches from Soroti to Corner Kamdini via Dokolo, Lira, Kole and Oyam, the issues of violence against children and gender-based violence are being addressed.

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