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UNICEF, others move to end violence against kids in six states

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), in collaboration with European Union (EU), has commenced training of duty bearers and child protection actors in five states and Federal Capital Territory (FCT) towards ending Violence Against Children (VAC) in Nigeria.

In Cross River, 63 of the duty bearers and child protection actors have been engaged for the training.

UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Mr. Victor Atuchukwu, disclosed that the programme had started running simultaneously in the five states of Cross River, Adamawa, Sokoto, Ebonyi and Lagos as well as FCT.

He explained that the programme was born out of the Spotlight Initiative (SI) and funded by EU, UN and other agencies to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in Nigeria.

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“UNICEF is one of the implementing agencies. Others include the UN women, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO). This is one of the components UNICEF is sharing because of our advantage of issues around children and UNICEF is anchoring this programme across the six states,” he said.

According to Atuchukwu, one of the goals of the project is to make sure that the pilot states and FCT have laws and policies in place that protect women and children, that is, the Child Right Law and the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act.

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“In this room, we have the duty bearers, the child protection actors from the social welfare, justice, police, health, human right and medical institutions. We decided to bring them together to look at those gaps we have in our different organisations and institutions as we are trying to strengthen those systems.

“The focus here is on girls and boys. This training will improve their skill in handling cases involving children in conflict and in contact with the law, and children who have suffered violence and needing other services like welfare, health

“It is one thing for a child to be violated and given response services without having the knowledge of the right and the ideal thing, that is, the lawful and legal thing to do. The situation will be causing secondary abuse to the child and you leave such a child worse than you met him or her. This capacity building will address all that”.

One of the resource Persons, and Programme Manager, Basic Right Council Initiative (BRCI), Mr. Kebe Ikpi, said they were helping partners to understand the integrated child protection framework that the state already have in place, and how to deploy the same in the work of protecting children from abuse.

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