The Lagos State Government through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), has cautioned parents and guardians against mixing domestic abuse issues with a disciple in their homes across the state.
It said that many parents, hiding under the guise of disciplining their children over conducts at home, begin to engage in continuous abuse of such children, leaving that child with bruises and other bodily injuries in the state.
The Executive Secretary, DSVA, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, gave the warning yesterday during a Parent Association Conference for District one and six held in Ikeja which was also attended by the Director-General, Office of Education Quality Assurance (OEQA), Abiola Seriki-Ayeni.
Vivour-Adeniyi explained that discipline and domestic abuse were separated by a thin line under the law with child discipline easily leading to abuse from the parents.
She noted that the Lagos State domestic and sexual violence law does not exclude parents from prosecution, saying anyone found culpable would be prosecuted by the government in accordance with provisions of the law.
The Executive Secretary explained that to ensure that parents do not fall victim to these as well as protect their children from other forms of abuse including sexual, the government considered that they should be put through on how to detect and escalate abuse of children in the state.
According to her, the parents are major stakeholders in the fight against domestic violence in the state. We want to empower them so that they go home, they’re able to perform their parenting skills, and prevent domestic and sexual violence in the state.
“We believe that many cases could be prevented when parents have the right information and skill set to identify that their child was being abused and take the right steps to curb them.
“Parents are so critical in the development of their children and that is why we have decided that they should be adequately empowered to understand all that is necessary to detect and prevent their children from suffering domestic and sexual violence.
“We are empowering parents on signs to look out for to detect physical and emotional abuse whenever their child suffers such. We need the parents to be aware of what are happenings. Also, we are discussing with them the need to distinguish between abuse and discipline. Some parents abuse their children under the guise of discipline. We are not faced with the fact that the father or mother is the perpetrator, we will go after whoever is involved in the case”, she added.
Earlier, Seriki-Ayeni, who was represented Director of Planning and Statistics, Yemi Abdul, disclosed that abuse on children affects their ability to learn effectively in school.
She noted that the engagement was to ensure that parents abandon some practices that often affect their children’s learning ability, saying some parents deny their children food and other learning aids not due to paucity of funds but consider other issues above the child’s needs.
The Director-General stressed that this and other actions constitute abuse that the government was trying to prevent so as to ensure that schoolchildren in Lagos, irrespective of their school, are either private or public.
A child counsellor, Kingsley Ubong-Ebulem, noted that a degree of abuse happens at home because the abuser and the victims come from the home, saying that many parents were not empowered to understand how their actions affect their children’s development.
A Head of School, Doris Obeki, urged parents to consider child upbringing as important and acquire all knowledge that could aid them in producing children that become better citizens in society.
Obeki noted that the major challenge currently affecting children was neglect from parents that were expected to guide and protect them from any abuse in the state.
“The physical, social, and emotional well-being of the children must be cared for. Parenting today should be intentional and not the other way around. We must add value to the children and not destroy their lives. There is more to parenting today and we as parents must understand that”.
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