In furtherance of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode’s directives to ensure that Childs Rights are upheld and Child Abuse is eradicated from the State, over 300 parents were, at the weekend, engaged on key issues relating to Child protection and prevention of abuse.
This was the focus at the first Lagos State one-day Parents Teachers Association (PTA) Conference on Child Abuse, organised by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT).
Coordinator of DSVRT, Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, said the participants, drawn from both public and private institutions, consisted of members of various PTAs with Lagos State spanning over 100 schools drawn from Education District Six.
She said that whilst law enforcement, religious institutions, social workers, school administrators, health workers, community leaders and other relevant stakeholders are being trained on how to appropriately respond to Child Abuse in the State, parents, who should usually be first responders must not be left out as they have a pivotal role to play in preventing and responding to Child Abuse.
Vivour-Adeniyi said the parents were engaged in an interactive manner and empowered with information as to what Child Abuse entails, as well as the ramifications and importance of child’s rights.
She said, “Parents were further informed of the signs to look out for if there is a suspected case of abuse, and steps to take if a child is indeed being abused.
“The provisions of the Lagos State Mandated Reporting Policy was also communicated to participants. Child abuse is indeed criminal and everybody is mandated to report actual or suspected child abuse to the relevant authorities.
According to her, the utmost importance was the need for parents to be empowered with resources and contact details of relevant organisations to report to if there is an actual or suspected case of Child Abuse.
The DSVRT Coordinator said participants after the Conference received booklets, pamphlets and other materials containing vital information.
It would be recalled Governor Ambode on the 16th of December 2016, ratified the Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection programme , making it mandatory for all child centred institutions to adopt a Child Protection Policy.
“Consequently, as PTA members, they were awakene d to their roles in enforcing the Policy and ensuring schools and all other child centred institutions, strictly adhere and implement the Policy.
“From the feedback gotten from participants, the Conference was deemed successful in igniting the zeal and commitment from Parents and Teachers alike to become ambassadors and flag bearers in the fight against Child Abuse in the State,” she said.