Experts in child and adolescent health say sensitisation, education and awareness are some of the ways to prevent violence against children and adolescents in the society.
The fact came at a dissemination workshop organised for stakeholders involved in prevention and response to violence against children held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
Violence against children is a global public health problem with dire consequences. To curb this problem, the World Health Organisation in conjunction with other major international organisations, developed an evidence-based resource package referred to as INSPIRE, in 2016.
Dr. Adesola Olumide, the Project Lead, INSPIRE Dissemination Project and acting Director, Institute of Child Health, University of Ibadan says INSPIRE comprises seven proven strategies effective in the prevention of violence against children.
“The strategies are; I is for Implementation and enforcement of laws; N is for Norms and values; S is for Safe environments; P is for Parents and caregiver support; I is for Income and economic strengthening; R is for Response and support services and E is for Education and life skills,” Dr Olumide said.
She stated that as part of global efforts to create awareness and facilitate utilisation of the INSPIRE strategies, the INSPIRE dissemination project conducted a dissemination workshop aimed at a range of stakeholders involved in prevention and response to violence against children in Nigeria. INSPIRE project is domiciled in the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan.
Dr Olumide said; “We are hoping that with this workshop, different stakeholders will come together, we’ll share experiences and also learn from one another so that going forward we can all in a better and more coordinated way respond and prevent violence against children in Nigeria and globally.”
She further said that for stakeholders to recognise the important role to play in preventing and responding to violence against children in Nigeria, it is imperative they (stakeholders) are called to a round table.
The stakeholders at the workshop, however, bared their minds on the lasting solution to the menace of violence against children and adolescents in the country.
A Family Physician and Coordinator of Child Protection Network in Oyo State, Dr. Ebunlomo Walker said that; “The lasting solution is the education of the communities, we need to educate our people. Parenting, we’ve seen that culturally now there’s little parenting going on, children are not protected or educated in their homes to know their risks and it is so rampant now.”
Dr. Walker noted that prevention could be achieved through education, awareness and taking proactive steps, adding that if culprits are sanctioned and punished by the legal system and security agencies, it would serve as deterrent to other culprits to be.
Corroborating, Head, World Islamic Peace Foundation, Imam Salahudeen said; “The lasting solution is to address the mind of every parent and potential parent because it is a kind of innate idea to always punish or beat children randomly…It has to be introduced into the teachings of the churches and mosques, even within community meetings, so we can have a change of mind of such individuals.”
The Coordinator of the Oyo State Sexual and Gender-based Violence Response Team, Mrs. Dupe Awosemusi said; ”If everyone takes his/her position, there will be prevention instead of looking for cure.
“Parents, especially mothers, have to be sensitive to their children. The caregivers, the teachers at school, the guardians, the community leaders, religious leaders, security personnel, health care department, immigration, everybody, all have to work together to find a lasting solution to violence against children.”
Findings have shown that up to 1 billion children globally have experienced physical, sexual and psychological violence in the past years.