CCJP Calls on Children to Report Abuse
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace aims to make society "a pleasant and happy place" for children through its safeguarding efforts.
KARONGA, Malawi- The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Karonga Diocese has urged schoolchildren to report any abuse they suffer at home or school, a gender coordinator said Monday, writes Patricia Kayuni.
"Some teachers take advantage of learners' ignorance, and oftentimes their abusive behaviours go unpunished because learners do not report," Janet Mhango told students at a safeguarding awareness meeting at Kawale Primary School in Chitipa.
"Today we have told them about different types of abuse, and we expect that they will start reporting."
Education official Brair Simfukwe acknowledged some abuse cases in schools are "buried under the carpet because children are afraid to report."
He pledged that education authorities "will not sit by and watch teachers step on learners' rights."
Koloso Msukwa, chair of Kawale's school management committee, said they will continue talks with students to encourage them to report any "unpleasant situation" at the school.
The Catholic group is working to raise awareness of children's rights and encourage reporting of abuse as part of its safeguarding project across Catholic primary schools in Chitipa District, Mhango said. She urged parents not to neglect their children's problems but to listen to any issues they raise.
"Children pass through a lot at the hands of their teachers without even knowing that they are being abused," Mhango told the meeting, which included learners, parents, and teachers.
Simfukwe, the education official, agreed more needs to be done and pledged cooperation between authorities, parents, police, and others.
"The education office will not sit by and watch teachers step on learners' rights," he said.
Msukwa of Kawale School said in addition to talks with students, they will work through the parents and teachers association and local mother's group on empowering children to speak up if abuse occurs.
The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace aims to make society "a pleasant and happy place" for children through its safeguarding efforts, according to a statement from the awareness meeting in Chitipa.