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Barriere Bits, Issue #018 Child Abuse Continues to be Ignored
November 18, 2008
Welcome to Barriere Bits, the child abuse information e-zine that will provide you with international child abuse information.
In this issue, you'll find child abuse news from:
According to the poll: - 7 out of 10 stated child abuse is difficult to identify. - 4 out of 10 stated they did not know what to do if they were aware of child abuse. - 1 out of 3 stated fear was responsible for their reluctance to report child abuse. - Nearly 50% stated they knew a child who had been abused.
My Comments: Clearly, there needs to be a great deal of training conducted in order to address these alarming poll results. But even when training is made available, very few in the general population enrol. Sadly, it usually takes a local case of child abuse that ends in tragedy before the general public is outraged enough to want to do something. But during such times of justifiable outrage few are interested in learning how they themselves can help to prevent child abuse; rather, in times of such tragedy, people are more apt to point fingers and look for "someone" to blame. This kind of outrage is a human phenomenon that is repeated all over the world when a child dies at the hands of a parent or caregiver. When a child dies from child abuse, people often take to the streets demanding more from Child Protective Services and the authorities. But unless and until ordinary every day citizens are prepared to do their part by taking some form of training to learn more about child abuse and its effects, and what can be done to both intervene and prevent it, the epidemic of child abuse will persist and worsen. We must stop pointing fingers and instead, gain the upper hand by getting involved. Last month's issue of Barriere Bits (October 2008) gave a number of ways to do just that.
Currently, a prototype system is using non-sensitive data to test the system. The next step will be to employ the software on real-life pedophile cases for which police and other agencies will supply material.
My Comments: Very promising.
In January 2005, the federal cabinet of Pakistan approved the National Plan of Action for Child Protection that was developed collaboratively by the NGO and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which includes suggestions and initiatives for prevention of child abuse and child exploitation. However, four years later, the government has yet to implement it.
My Comments: Clearly, the Pakistan government does not consider the rights of children a priority.
The law currently reads that a child under the age of 16 cannot marry and that sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 15 is a criminal offense, even if the child did not resist.
My Comments: I can't imagine the re-victimization that a woman would suffer over and over again if she was made to marry her rapist. And lowering the minimum age to 14 from 15...raise it; don't lower it. What ARE these judges thinking!
The hotline is reportedly being supported by UNICEF and was recommended by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child.
My Comments: I will update my hotline numbers to include 2-1-1 for Jamaica when the service has been implemented.
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Darlene Barriere is a child abuse survivor, a violence and abuse prevention educator and author of On My Own Terms, A Memoir. She lives in semi-arid Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada with her husband, John.
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