The Lagos State Government on Saturday engaged 400 parents and caregivers from Education District 2 on the protection of children against physical, mental and sexual abuses.
The engagement, held in Ikeja, was organised by the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), in collaboration with the Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA).
At the event, tagged: Parents Association Conference on Child Safeguarding, Executive Secretary, DSVA, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi said it had become expedient to protect children from abuse that could spiral into violence.
Vivour-Adeniyi, represented by the Head, Psychology Department, DSVA, Dr. Olive Oluwagbemileke, said that the conference was designed to enlighten parents on the process of reporting cases of violence and abuses on children.
She said that it was to show the parents how to prevent violence in forms of domestic and sexual acts, and the process that could be adopted to raise their children to become more responsible in the society.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that punishment had not been an effective tool to correcting wrong behaviour of children, rather than discipline, stressing the need to explore other milder ways of reprimanding children for wrong doings.
According to her, when parents are frustrated about a child’s wrong behaviour, they want the child to suffer for that, and this leads to violence in the society and illicit rebellious and aggressive behaviour from the child.
The Director-General, OEQA, Mrs Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, also said that the whole essence of the meeting was to review activities of the multi-agencies involved in the protection of child rights in the state.
Seriki-Ayeni, who was represented by the Director, Monitoring and Investigation, OEQA, Mr Kamardeen Akodu, said that the office monitored schools and investigated cases relating to children within school levels that were below tertiary school – primary and secondary schools, both in private and public.
”Any case of abuse involving children of school age, we work with DSVA, Youth and Social Development Police, Ministry of Justice, Health and other agencies to ensure the case is adequately investigated.
”We are also concerned about the protection of remaining children in that school. If one child has been abused, we concentrate on the school to see what the management of the school has to protect other children and we engage the school management to ensure that such act does not happen again.
”Where the school is found responsible for exposing the children to insecurity and we notice that the level of exposure is so high, such that children are not safe in that school, we can shut that school, while we guide the school to do the right thing,” she said.
Seriki-Ayeni said that the state ensures that academic activities do not stop, while investigation and closure of such school takes place.
In her presentation, the State Coordinator, Child Protection Network, Mrs Aderonke Oyelakin, said that there was the need for collaborative effort to instill good values into the children.
Oyelakin said that parents should be enlightened on ways to curb all forms of violence against children in Lagos State.
She said that DSVA organised the event to enlighten them on the signs to watch out for and ways to prevent their children from any form of abuse.
Oyelakin said that abuse could come in form of neglect, exploitation, sexual, physical or emotional, hence, it was imperative for parents to know the laws of the land.
She said they should know, particularly, those that had to do with Child Right and what government had put in place to protect the children at all levels.
”Parents should be able to educate their children with the basic information about their body parts. Don’t hide anything from them.
”There must be zero tolerance against any form of abuse on children and we must be ready to fight the perpetrators of this dastardly act, and collectively, we have to fight it out of our society,” she said.
Oyelakin urged parents to be intentional and be friends with their children, especially during the day, as well as observe what goes around them, in order to secure a better future for them.
Also, the Chairman, Parents Forum Education District II, Mr Abdul-Wasiu Jenrade, commended the initiative by DSVA to bring parents together and shed more light on the need to ensure optimal protection of children.
”Whatever happens to our children is the cause of the parents, the conference is an eye opener for everyone to take congnisance of the fact that we must key into this noble reservoir of knowledge to further safeguard our children,” Jenrade said.
He acknowledged that the state government had put adequate measures in place and everyone must be able to use the various platforms to escalate matters of any form of abuse on the children. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)