Lockdown: Foundation urges parents, guardians to guard female children, wards against sexual abuse




Cleen Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, has urged parents and guardians to closely monitor their female children and wards during the COVID-19 lockdown, to guard them against sexual abuse and domestic violence.

Ms Blessing Abiri, Programme Advisor of the organisation in Lagos State, gave the advice in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria on Wednesday in Abuja.

Abiri said that the lockdown, with its immediate effects on lifestyle, predisposed vulnerable women and girls to perpetrators of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV).

According to her, there is a reported increase in cases of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in homes as a result of the lockdown.

“The issue is very critical and this is seen in the response of the United Nations Secretary General, when he said recently that for many women and girls, threat looms largest where they should be safest in their own homes.

“The lockdown and quarantine according to recent UN findings have brought about a horrifying global surge in domestic violence due to the economic and social pressures of the lockdowns and with limited access of victims to response systems.

“The sudden rise (in SGBV) is because there is a shift of focus by government and other human rights agencies from SGBV to the current pandemic and security issues which makes the handling of SGBV issues secondary.

“The lockdown and its restriction have placed women and girls in a trap. The lockdown situation which has now been extended has placed sexual predators close to their vulnerable preys.

“So, we urge parents and guardians in these times to double vigilance, especially on their female children and wards, to prevent cases of sexual abuse that could be avoided,” she said.

Abiri, however, said that the issues of SGBV during the lockdown should not be sidelined or left alone to parents and guardians but should be the concern of all, including the government.

She said that the same attention and measures being taken to tackle the Coronavirus pandemic should be extended to the issues of SGBV.

According to her, SGBV should be incorporated into media reportage and commercial advertisements to sensitise and educate children, wards, parents and guardian.

She, however, said that such reportage and adverts should be simplified to aid easy comprehension, especially for the children with disability.

“The SGBV adverts should be in simple and easily understood language capturing the intimate and sensitive parts of the bodies as well as signs to look out for and ways to report cases of abuse.

“Advertisements and jingles should be made to capture disabled audience also,” she said.

Abiri commended governments, NGOs and well-meaning groups that had provided support centres for SGBV victims via telephone and social media platforms.

Edited By: Johnson Eyiangho/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN) 

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Diana Omueza

Diana Omueza: NNN is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. We are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and we strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor @ Disclaimer.

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