HARARE – The United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) on Wednesday, said it was worried by the soaring number of cases of violence against children, with some as young as 12-months-old, and often by those entrusted to take care of them.
“The harm inflicted on children around the world is truly worrying,” Unicef chief of child protection Cornelius Williams said in a report titled A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents.
“Babies slapped in the face, girls and boys forced into sexual acts, adolescents murdered in their communities, violence against children spares no one and knows no boundaries.”
At an event at Unicef Harare offices, the government, partners and donors called upon the society to play an active role in protecting children against violence, especially within the homes.
“Zimbabwe has taken great strides in the fight against violence against children by carrying out key research to understand the root causes and manifestations of violence against children, and identifying elements on how to tackle these issues, especially in the homes,” public service, labour and social welfare ministry acting director Sneddon Soko said.
Chief magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe, of the Judicial Services Commission, lamented the rise of sexual abuse cases around the country.
“The worrisome thing is that according to our statistics, 60 percent of these cases are being perpetrated by people known to the survivors. Most of these incidents are happening in our homes, which have always been perceived to be safe havens for our children,” he said.
Childline Zimbabwe called upon parents and care givers to play a more active role in raising their children, as most cases of child abuse go undetected due to lack of time spent with their children.
“In this age of technology, parents need not be replaced by gadgets,”Childline Zimbabwe national director Stella Motsi said.
“Parents need to pay close attention, listen actively and believe their children, because abuse may be hidden behind a familiar face.”
African News Agency