Child Abuse & Domestic Violence On The Rise in Sierra Leone
Line Manager of the Family Support Unit (FSU) at the Central Police Division, ASP Abu Bakarr Kanu recently informed pressmen that child abuse and domestic violence have increased in the country and described it as a menace in the country. (Photo: Line Manager, Central Police Station, ASP Abu Bakarr Kanu)
According to the Line Manager, the lack of commitment by line Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to take stringent action against perpetrators, and the willingness by community people and the judiciary to compromise may have led to the increase in child abuse and domestic violence.
He reiterated that sexual penetration of a child has to do with a person below 18 years either with or without his/her consent, noting that such matters are often reported and culprits are detained and charged to court. ASP Kanu however said the matters of rape and sexual harassment are reported very seldom, while domestic violence, he said, is often reported.
The Line Minister disclosed that actions would only be taken on such matters upon the advice of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for Domestic Violence, adding that they would only charge these matters to court when there is sufficient evidence.
He however conceded that they usually face serious challenges in receiving endorsement medical forms from the Rainbow Centre Initiative, an institution he said is in charge of examining cases and issuing medical reports to victims, adding that getting the cooperation of parents and guardians is another challenge.
ASP Kanu further lamented that there are also facing difficulties in accessing witnesses, forensic evidence or physical proofs and that corroboration from witnesses is extremely poor, adding that the administrational and confessional statements on the part of suspects are not responsive in most cases.
When asked on how they intend to tackle these challenges, the Line Manager said they are working assiduously to address sexual and gender based violence with the new approach of consultative engagement with key players nationwide.“We’ll continue with public sensitization and awareness-raising campaigns in a bid to educate the nation about child abuse and gender based violence which is a menace in our society,” ASP Kanu assured.
He however appealed to the public to come onboard and work tirelessly towards combating sexual and gender based violence with a holistic approach, by taking into cognizance the community, judiciary and local council authorities.
ASP Kanu also appealed to all line MDAs to improve on protocols and commitment to addressing the menace with the seriousness it deserves to protect the nation from such human rights violations.
By Abdulai Mento Kamara
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