Uganda: Lango sub-region is witnessing an increase in cases of violence against children, mainly due to economic hardship, placing the region as the ‘the most at risk’ Ugandan region in terms of the rate of violence against children.
According to the Uganda women’s parliamentary association, about 48.4% of the parents across Lango sub-region admitted that their children had missed first term education simply to attend and finish domestic works, 69.4% of the children had personally experienced abuse and violence in the past three months while 53% of the families did not feel their children are safe from danger and violence in the community
Kipwole Anne, a consultant at Green Edge Consultants who presented the report last Friday said the cases of child abuse in Lango varies, from physical violence to child labour due to economic factors
Denis Johnson Okello the Alebtong district LCV chairman said violence against children and women is in most cases as a result of consuming too much alcohol, specifically Sacket Waragi, among men despite economic hardship.
He notes that there is urgent need for police, local leaders, and NGOs to work collaboratively in the fight to curb cases of violence against children in the region.
“From the cases of violence against children committed so far, the perpetrators were mostly people with relatively close relationships with the victims.” Mr. Okello said.
“The community has no trust in the official structures especially the police that has contributed to poor reporting of child abuse cases.” argued Jeniffer Atiti, the community development officer in Kole district.
“Victims often do not feel comfortable going to the police mainly because they are unable to pay the bribes required to file a police report.” she says.
Fredrick Odongo, Dokolo’s District chairman explains that in some cases the laws on the books are the problem, citing that both parents and children are ignorant about the laws that protect the rights of children. The chairman notes the need to translate these laws into various languages and including them as part of the curriculum in every primary school in the nation for better understanding by both parents and children in the community.
In their defense, Patrick George Okori, the OC/CIID Alito police post, attributes the fueling violence against children to little funding that the police receive from the government. Okori states that this hinders their ability to deal with the high volumes of reports that come through their doors.