HomeHealth'Over 1000 children suffered sexual abuse in Lagos in 2020' 

‘Over 1000 children suffered sexual abuse in Lagos in 2020’ 

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Angela Onwuzoo

The Lagos State Ministry of Youths and Social Development says about 1005 children in the state suffered various forms of sexual abuse in 2020.

According to Child Protection Information Management Systems data from the Child Protection Unit of the ministry, the 1005 cases of sexual abuse include defilement and sexual assault.

The ministry revealed that besides sexual abuse, some children in the state also suffered physical and emotional abuse in the period under review.  

The ministry made the data available at the ongoing four-day media dialogue on the elimination of violence against women and girls in the state.

“Sexual abuse, 1005; physical abuse, 376; child abandonment, 121; lost but found,143, child labour, 150; neglected/emotional abuse, 164 and parents seeking shelter for their children, 195”, the ministry’s data stated.

The data further revealed that between January and April 2021, the state recorded 213 cases of defilement and assault; 94 cases of physical abuse; 30 cases of child abandonment; lost but found, 45; child labour 42; neglected/emotional abuse, 44 and parents seeking shelter for their children, 52.

Assistant Director in the ministry, Olasunmbo Daniel in her presentation, said the ministry through its Child Protection Unit responds to cases of abuse against children and protects them from harm.

Daniel said the ministry’s Child Protection Unit with technical and financial support from the United Nations Children’s Fund is addressing cases of child abuse in the state.

The media dialogue titled, ‘Ethical Reporting and Advocacy to Eliminate Violence against Women and Girls was organised by the Joint European Union & United Nations Spotlight Initiative; Federal Ministry of Information and Culture in collaboration with UNICEF.

Also speaking at the media dialogue, the Coordinator, Spotlight Initiative Lagos, Foluke Omoworare, said there were a lot of cases of sexual abuse in Lagos in recent times.

According to the 2018 Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey, not less than 17 million ( nine percent) Nigerian women aged 15-49 have experienced sexual abuse.

“And while eight million ( four percent) said that they had experienced sexual violence in the past 12 months before the survey. Four percent of these women first experienced sexual violence before age 18.

“Perpetrators of sexual violence typically have a personal affiliation to the woman. So it could either be her current husband/partner; former husband/partner or current/ ex-boyfriend. For single women who have never been married, the main perpetrators are strangers”, the survey says.

Across all age categories, women that experienced sexual violence increased from three percent in 2013 to four percent in 2018, according to the survey.

The Chief of Operations, UNICEF Lagos, Muhammad Okorie while speaking at the media dialogue said violence against women is a global issue. He lamented that the trend threatens women’s inability to achieve their full potential.

Okorie noted that with the current global movement to end such violence, it has become imperative to work towards changing the trend.

“We are counting on the media to champion this course. If we can’t eradicate this problem, at least we can reduce it to the barest minimum.

“The meeting is to ensure that we end Violence Against Women and Girls. The media is in a vantage position to reach a larger audience since they have more access through their report to speak to stakeholders,” he said.

Also speaking, Director, National Orientation Agency, Lagos, Mr. Waheed Ishola says 60 percent of cases of child abuse are never made public.

He expressed displeasure that a lot of child abusers go unpunished.

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