Open discussions on sexual abuse can play an essential role in preventing such incidents from occurring. This is according to a report prepared by ChildLinK Guyana.
The advocacy group has been actively involved in work aimed at protecting children against physical, sexual, emotional, neglect and commercial abuse and exploitation.
ChildLinK Guyana has been working with a number of other agencies to strengthen and protect networks, systems, policies, procedures and approaches for further impact in this regard.
According to recommendations of the rights group, parents must seek to have an open line of communication on sexual abuse so that their children can disclose abuse or express their feelings without victimization.
“This will give offenders less power to manipulate children and will aid in preventing child sexual abuse and directly encourage reporting and disclosure of child sexual abuse.”
The report also examined the statistics on child sex abuse cases.
The data revealed recent figures which highlighted the fact that there has been a notable increase in reports of child sexual abuse over the past five years.
However, the report added that although the increase must be a cause for public concerns, children, their families, communities, the Childcare and Protection Agency, (CPA) police, the judiciary and civil society have been responding to the cries of the victims and their families.
Despite the increase, child sexual abuse cases remain under-reported –for many reasons inclusive of fear of the offender, fear of shame and manipulation of the family to blame the child or not believing the child.
In many cases, the report said offenders would tell victims that they would get into trouble with their parents, if they disclosed.
And children who are afraid of a beating are less likely to tell their parents or any adult about abuse because they are afraid they will be further punished.
“But children who feel loved, appreciated, and well cared-for at home are less likely to succumb to an offender’s manipulation and intimidation,” the report added.
In other instances, child sexual abuse will continue in an environment where children are manipulated and made to feel the abuse is their fault.
As such, the report stated that it is imperative that adults know how to respond to disclosure of child sexual abuse.
“Parents, caregivers, family and community members/leaders should always keep an eye out for children. Where there is a suspicion asks questions carefully.
“Do not threaten the child/children into telling. They are most likely to withhold the information due to fear.”
“Educate the child about sexual abuse and sexual violence. Should a child disclose, listen, get medical care immediately especially if the abuse has taken place within the last few hours. Make a report to the police and CPA.”
It was stressed that parents must seek to have an open line of communication so that their children can disclose abuse or express their feelings without fear of victimization.
This will give offenders less power to manipulate their children and will aid in preventing child sexual abuse and directly encourage reporting and disclosure of child sexual abuse.
Last year, there were 841 reported cases of child sexual abuse (119 boys and 722 girls), which indicates that there has been a 25% increase or an additional 171 children compared to five years ago.
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