Tfac calls for more involvement in child protection

Government in collaboration with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) are trying to put more interventions in protecting children from different abuses, Theatre for a Change (Tfac) Organization says there is still much to be desired in as far as sexual exploitation is concerned.

With a purpose of improving sexual reproductive health services in the country for the marginalized, vulnerable girls and women who are discriminated, sexual exploitation has been one of the most ignored problems that children are facing which need government prompt interventions in stamping out the tendency.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (Mana) in Lilongwe on Wednesday, Tfac Advocacy and Communications Officer, Beatrice Chiphwanya said her organization is working around this topic with Community Child Protection Teams (CCPT) in some sexual exploited areas in Lilongwe to assist in eradicating the tendency.

We are doing several projects with Child protection teams in 10 selected sexual exploitation areas .These teams go out in bars to get girls out from the risky places and help them in reporting abuse to Police, she said

Chiphwanya pointed out that there are other projects which work directly with children who are at risk of being exploited saying they give them skills on how they could confidently report abuse at school and community level among others.

According to the Communication Officer, there are still a number of girls suffering in the communities hence the need for government interventions with binding laws that will punish perpetrators

She added that all sexual related cases should never be handled at community level.

The laws are not strict; we have seen perpetrators walking away on bail after being in custody for few days, later the case is not heard anymore and it ends there. Law makers need to help us in bridging laws that really make it to exploited children. Chiphwanya said.

Lilongwe District Social Welfare Officer, Jean Mthengwe said her office works hand in hand with police Victim Support Unit (CSU) in matters pertaining to the vice.

She said whenever children have been reported to be sexually abused they have to bring the case to Police adding that they have one stop centre where these cases are also addressed.

There has been lack of coordination between our office and CCPT because they don’t provide us with comprehensive reports, Mthengwe pointed out.

She added that CCPT officials normally report to Tfac while in turn Tfac does not report to Lilongwe District Social Welfare.

However there are some parents of the victims who are ignorant on the procedure and they decides to withdraw cases for their own reasons and perpetrators are left scot free. Mthengwe said.

She explained that when a child has been sexually harassed it is a criminal case and that the case has to be handled by police, not at family level and when perpetrators have been set free the community has to make follow-up with Police to find out what has happened.

In a month, Tfac gets over 15 cases on average at community levels and according to Tfac there are others cases that are not accounted because the cases are not reported to the organization.

The Projects are targeting areas like Chigwirizano, Chinsapo, Mtandire, Chiuzira, Mgona, Ng’oma, and Kauma among others.

Source: MANA Online