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Child abuse: sexual defilement top cases in Lagos- New Repot

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  • only about 1005 cases reported in 2020
  • 60% of cases are never made public

A large number of Lagos children are being defiled sexually but only 1005 cases were reported in 2020, recent data from the Lagos Ministry of Youth and Social Development reveals.

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According to the data submitted through the Child Protection Information Management Systems (CPIMS), from the Child Protection Unit of The Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Lagos state, about 2,154 child abuse cases were reported in Lagos state in Y2020, and sexual defilement tops the record with 1005 cases.

Other abuse cases such as physical abuse and child abandonment followed with 376, 121 cases respectively.

The data revealed during a four-day media dialogue with journalists on ethical reporting and advocacy to eliminate violence against women and girls organised by Spotlight Initiative Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in Lagos, further showed that; 143 children were picked from the street; 150 children were forced into labour; 164 children experienced emotional abuse and parents seeking shelter for their children were 195 in the year 2020.

While analyzing the data, the experts explained that in the year 2021, many of the cases of violence against women and girls were unreported due to COVID-19 but sexual defilement still tops the record with 213 cases so far reported.

According to The Director, National Orientation Agency, Lagos, Mr Waheed Ishola, “60 per cent of cases of child abuse are never made public and a vast number of child abusers go unpunished”.

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He said some community perceived reasons for the prevalence of abuse of women and girls are, “poverty, indecent dressing among adolescent girls, missing parental care, the quest for money, fame and political position by women.”

Others include: “neglect of family values, the inability of men to manage their home, illicit drug/substance abuse, ritualistic purposes, fear of stigmatization.”

In her remark, the coordinator Spotlight Initiative UNICEF Lagos, Foluke Omoworare, who represented UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Denise Onoise, said, one in four girls have experienced sexual violence in Nigeria.

According to her, violence is rarely an isolated incident and the majority of children surveyed experienced violence in their home.

According to her, for children, perpetrators are people that are known to them, (parents, caregiver, teacher, neighbours).

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She said, some of the drivers of Violence Against Women And Girls, VAWG are; Social norms, early child marriage, weak enforcement of the law, the reluctance of response services to getting involved in family affairs, domestic violence in the home, amongst others.

Omoworare added that women and girls with disabilities are twice as likely to experience violence of any form.

Explaining the effort of Lagos state to eliminate violence against women and girls in the state, assistant director, Ministry of Youth and Social Development, Olasunmbo Daniel, said the ministry works collaboratively and effectively with partners in a different capacity to ensure violence is reduced to the barest minimum in the society.

In implementing the Spotlight Initiative, Daniel said the progress report for Lagos state included capacity building and strengthening of 156 child protection stakeholders, social welfare officers, health officers, education officers, legal officers, police officers, civil society organisations, volunteers have been carried out at different times, in the last two years.

Daniel said the training of 23 family court functionaries, judges, magistrates and assessors was put on hold as a result of the nationwide strike.”

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Earlier, the Chief of Operations, UNICEF Lagos, Muhammad Okorie said violence against women is a global issue, adding that, this trend threatens women in achieving their full potential.

Okorie stated, “Before 25 years, a girl must have been violated either sexually or physically. If we do not end violence against women, we can reduce it to the barest minimum.”

He urged the media to use their vantage position to reach a larger audience to put up reports that would speak to stakeholders as well as policymakers to act.

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