A ten – year old girl, one of the beneficiaries of Catholic Care for Children Uganda (CCCU), was recently assaulted, and raped by a twenty-year-old man commonly known as Brick Baker.  According to the Administrator of Child Care Institution (CCI) Sr. Boniconsili Atuhaire, OLGC, of Nyakibale Unit –Rukungiri District, the little girl fell a prey to the attacker when she went to collect broom shrubs from the valley at her home after leaving the CCI.

The victim was helped by the information and knowledge she acquired from child rights and protection delivered by the CCI. It helped her to report this case to the caregivers who rushed her to the hospital, where she was treated for the terrible tear she sustained. She is still undergoing counseling sessions due to trauma and stigma she has experienced. A team of Social Workers and Counselors is accompanying her from the CCI where she belongs.

Pic: Courtesy from the internet

As the case is already in court pending ruling, what surrounds the ordeal is the challenge of what children face today.  Given the dilemma of the endless lock down posed by COVID-19 that has kept children at home. Let alone the transition process of shifting children from Child Care Institutions to home or family-like environment.

According to sources of Save the Children, Most children (68% of boys and 59% of girls) have experienced physical violence, while one in three girls and one in six boys suffer sexual abuse. The scars can last a lifetime and often result in mental health issues and psychological distress during adulthood. Parents, teachers, friends and neighbors abuse the children of Uganda. This means they are not safe in homes, schools, roads, markets or water sources. Let us make these places and people safe for children everywhere.

“Effective child protection needs strong laws and policies in place. In Uganda there are many positive steps taken on paper – for example, there is a national strategy to end violence against children in school, and child marriage, corporal punishment and other forms of abuse are illegal. However, in reality these laws are rarely enforced or resourced… Perpetrators often go unpunished.” Save the Children advocates for greater resourcing to implement and enforce these laws, and are developing localized and child-friendly versions to make them more accessible to communities.