GIS – 05 November 2013: From 2010 to 2012, the number of child sexual abuse cases registered by the Child Development Unit of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare was 938, representing an average of 300 cases per year. We must enhance our efforts so that no case of child sex abuse goes unreported and unpunished.
This was the gist of the speech of the Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Mireille Martin, at the launching of a five-day training programme on Hearings into Cases of Child Sex Abuse, held yesterday at the Social Welfare Centre in Wooton.
The Minister stated that the training programme not only denotes, but also reinforces the collaboration among Government, civil society and NGOs for the implementation of government strategies geared towards improving child protection services. We have established and will pursue the development of relationships with various partners to strengthen networking with a view to encourage reporting of suspected child abuse, she said. Mrs Martin urged for more effective collaboration and common actions to safeguard children and improve child protection practices and services.
Speaking on the positive outcome of the various partnership between Government and the civil society, Minister Martin recalled the setting up, since 2010, of some 32 Community child watch across the island and the establishment of Committees at the level of district council to provide services towards child support and protection as well as to create awareness on the issue of child abuse. She also mentioned the organisation of sensitisation campaigns and the setting up of 289 Child Protection clubs in primary and secondary institutions, which are supervised by officers of the ministry and supported by qualified personnel of NGOs and civil society.
According to Mrs Martin, as training is a key instrument in combating child abuse, her ministry is committed to provide continuous capacity building programmes for public officers and members of voluntary organisations and civil society working towards child protection. The Minister pointed out that those in charge of child protection have to be proactive, develop effective child protection services and practices and adopt appropriate techniques to contribute to reduce the suffering and trauma experienced by children victims of child abuse.
The Training programme on Hearings into Cases of Child Sex Abuse is organised by the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare in collaboration with PEDOSTOP, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which fights against sexual abuse of children and helps victims of such abuse. The training brings together officers of the Ministry, the Ombudsperson for Children Office and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as well as police officers and other stakeholders. The resource person is Mrs Martine Nisse, Family therapist and special education teacher, Director of the Centre des Buttes-Chaumont that offers specialised care and therapy to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence.
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