VAC: UNICEF advocates family court
As the rate of child abuse tends to increase during the yuletide, UNICEF is advocating for family court to checkmate issues of Violence Against Children, VAC.
Speaking to our correspondent, Mrs Sharon Oladiji, a United Nations Children's Fund, UNICEF, Child Rights Specialist, has said that there is need to establish family courts as enshrined in the Child Rights Act, CRA, to protect the child from abuse as she also called on the three tiers of government to take action.
Oladiji attributed the increasing rate of child abuse to the absence of institutions to check the trend, adding that the call for family courts became necessary to severely deal with perpetrators of violence against children.
She said violence includes emotional, physical, sexual acts and that the court would specifically deal with perpetrators of any form of violence meted out to children.
Oladiji however lamented on the failure of a lot of families affected in such situations to speak out when their children or wards were violated by relations, adding that a lot of children fell prey to perpetrators of violence because of the failure of parents or guardians to allow them have a say in matters affecting their lives.
The UNICEF specialist said failure of the society and the government to punish perpetrators of the acts adequately, they did not see anything wrong in their actions, stressing that the lapses by the government and families have further encouraged perpetrators to continue in their acts.
Oladiji added that the N500, 000.00 fine or five years imprisonment for perpetrators of sexual abuse and unlawful sexual intercourse, among others, enshrined in section 34 of the Child’s Rights Act, was mild.
She however called for stiffer penalty, such as death sentence, for offenders to deter prospective violators and for early reporting of cases toward reducing the trend.
According to her, "at the moment, the impunity is high. People do it and get away with it. There is no court system that specifically deals with all kinds of perpetration or perpetrators and as enshrined in that law.
"What we need is to speak about it and encourage our government to establish the family court. It may not be as costly as you think."
She said some provisions of the CRA includes; right to survival, development, protection and participation and the protection right is essential for safeguarding children and adolescents from all forms of abuse, neglect and exploitation.