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Friday, June 21, 2024

Lagos Govt. warns teachers against concealing sexual offences in school

As efforts to prevent and protect survivors of domestic and sexual violence intensified in Lagos, the State Government through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), has informed teachers in public and private schools that they will not be spared under the law when found concealing sexual offences that occurred within their classroom as well as school.

The Executive Secretary DSVA, Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, gave the warning yesterday during a two-day training on Child safeguarding and protection for 105 school counsellors drawn from primary and secondary schools within Ikeja, Mushin and Oshodi/Isolo zones of the state.

She facilitated a session on the Legal Framework for child abuse in Lagos State citing the different laws; including the Child Rights Law of Lagos State, 2007, The Domestic and Sexual PA Violence Agency Law, Protection Against Domestic Violence, Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency Law, 2021 and the Criminal Law of Lagos State alongside the punishment provided for the offences.

Vivour-Adeniyi stated that schools do not just serve as centers of academic learning but should also be safe havens, where children feel secure, safe and protected.

She noted that the influence of counselors extends far beyond the classroom as it shapes the emotional and psychological landscape of the next generation.

The DSVA boss urged the counselors to remain steadfast in their commitment in safeguarding the dignity and rights of every child.

The TG/PS of Education District VI, Dr. Sherifaah Yusuf, who was represented by the Head of the Counselling Unit, Anike Bola-Lawal, noted that constant training and retraining of the Guidance Counsellors would help keep them abreast of societal expectations to make a better society for all.

She stressed that the training would be rewarding as it cuts across the three zones of the district and lauded the Agency’s efforts in the quest for an SGBV free society

Representative from the State Universal Basic Education Board, Ibrahim Jenmi, while speaking on behalf of the SUBEB Chairman, thanked the Agency for the continuous training of guidance counsellors and hoped for the continued collaboration of the Agency and SUBEB.

At the training, Taiwo Akinlami, a Safeguarding and Child Protection expert spoke on child rights and concepts which includes their rights to life, developmental rights, participation rights and protection rights.

He further spoke about the societal and cultural perception of child abuse and examined the different forms of child abuse and how to detect signs of abuse.

Jubril Yakubu, a representative from the Ministry of Youth and Social Development gave an overview of the Lagos State Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection, highlighting the roles of a designated safeguarding officer and the multi-agency response to safeguarding and child protection.

He ended his session by informing the participants about the mandated reporting policy in Lagos State, urging them to say something whenever they see something.

Chief of Operations at Cece Yara; Olabisi Ajayi-Kayode who spoke on responding to disclosures
of child abuse; reasons disclosure of abuse is delayed and how children disclose abuse. She ended her session by educating the counsellors on how to handle disclosures made by children.

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