This call comes as Uganda prepares for full schools reopening.
The reopening of schools for all students is a necessary move to ensure the holistic wellbeing of children. The coalition, therefore, applauds it. However, this did not stop the coalition from expressing its concern. They said the issue of violence against children in schools is yet to be addressed.
“Violence against children is on the rise within homes, communities and schools in Uganda. This includes sexual, physical, and emotional violence, from which children have little or no protection at the current time, and which has direct negative effects on their growth and development,” the coalition noted in a statement.
A Violence Against Children nationwide survey carried out in 2018 revealed statistics showing that 3 of 4 Ugandans experienced violence in their childhood. It further illustrates that over half of the children in Uganda have experienced physical abuse.
Child victims of violence usually suffer a wide range of negative effects. These include maiming, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, dropping out of school, and death.
It should also be noted that violence against children if cyclical in nature. This means that there’s a very high probability that children who have suffered from violence are more likely to face it again. Or even become violent as adults.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the measures to contain its spread highlighted the weaknesses in the country’s efforts to protect children.
The prolonged stay at home and uncertainty led to an increasingly stressful environment for home superiors. This is also exposing children to violence and abuse.
A 16-year-old Noeline revealed in a 2020 World Vision study that family disputes among parents force children to leave home and resort to marriage.
The coalition also said it acknowledges the protective measures and environment schools provide for students; however, research has revealed that schools are not entirely violence-free.
It said in order for students to thrive and excel in learning, the teachers, government and parents should make schools and communities safer for the children.
They also called upon the ministry of Education and Sports to instruct and hold schools accountable to end corporal punishment and other forms of violence against children through a directive. This will enforce child rights for the good.
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