‘2149 children abused everyday in Lagos state’
Stakeholders in child protection have called for a synergy to tackle the increase in child sexual abuse and violence in Lagos State, menace.
They also urged the Police, Ministry of Justice, Office of the Public Defender (OPD), human rights and non-governmental organisations to ensure a reduction in the alarming rate of cases.
At a stakeholder’s forum organised by the Cece Yara Foundation, its Founder, Mrs. Bola Tinubu, said official statistics show that one in four girls would be sexually abused before they reach the age of 18.
For boys, it is one in six, while 84 per cent of girls and 61 per cent of boys do not know where to seek help, with only four per cent of girls and two per cent of boys actually receive help after experiencing sexual violence.
“We have calculated that 784,413 children in Lagos state alone experience sexual abuse every year, meaning 65, 367 children a month and 2,149 children a day.”
She further noted that children could not seek help and suffer in silence due to threat, confusion, fear or shame, adding: “We have families who shy away from exposing their child to the investigation and prosecution process due to stigma and trauma involved. We need to assure them as they embark on this journey.
“So, I commend the Lagos State government for being in the forefront of the multidisciplinary approach and support for victims through the domestic and sexual violence response team, among other activities by NGOs.”
Mrs. Tinubu called for safe platforms to encourage children to speak out about their experiences, support their access to justice throughout their case and provision of community based psychosocial support to children who have experienced violence and their caregivers.
While harping on the need for more shelters to accommodate abused children and their families, she encouraged law enforcement agencies to seek the assistance of NGOs to ensure total rehabilitation of victims.