The increasing cases of violence against children in communities has been an issue of great concern to the government and international donor agencies, most especially the slow or non prosecution of the perpetrators of the dastardly act by relevant authorities both at the national, state and local level.

It is because of this concern that social welfare workers in Adamawa state, gathered at the Duragi hotel for a week long intensive training on ways to appropriately handle issues of child abuse in their respective communities as well as report the cases on the national dashboard to ensure better programming and intervention.

The programme is an integrated case management training for social welfare workers and child protection workers from various communities. They are equipped with better knowledge and skills to better respond to cases of child abuse, violence against children and also provide better services to them.

The training is part of UNICEF’s spotlight programme funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations and the Adamawa state government.

UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist, Ladi Alabi who spoke to journalists at the event said “the participants were trained with the appropriate knowledge and skills to appropriately handle cases of violence against children in the communities they work and to also report because there is child protection information management system with a dashboard that receives reports of services rendered to children which is nationwide and every state is expected to feed into this dashboard with appropriate data to help in programming, which in turn will help in analysing the trend and incidence and cases that happens and also helps in future intervention in programming.”

Alabi further stressed that the programme was a EU funded project, implemented by the UN.

” This activity is been done under the spotlight initiative project which is funded by the European union and implemented by the united nations, and its not about just one UN agency but many agencies involved, so this is spotlight initiative implementation in Adamawa which is focussing on Yola and Mubi,” she explained.

She said the project will consolidate on the rapid awareness campaign that has helped parents, caregivers and communities to report cases of violence against children and also call for the prosecution of offenders.

” When we talk about child protection we are also talking about social welfare service delivery and child justice administration and on each of these components, reporting and building of data is important. So at this level this is focused on service delivery in case management.

“When we talk about issues such as punitive laws that comes under child justice administration and that is why there has been a push across all the stakeholders for Adamawa state government to domesticate the child’s right act. Those are the components of the work where the issues of punishment and definitions of what amounts to violence against children and penalty for doing them and the appropriate courts to go to. So domestication of the child rights law will go a long way. You’re all aware that this has been the discuss and there are a lot of issues because of some sensitivities that have caused delays but ultimately for the benefit and the overall protection of the child it’s actually a necessity,” Alabi stressed.

One of the facilitators, Comrade Gloria Usman, who is a UNICEF master trainer said she is optimistic that with the proper use of the knowledge learnt and appropriate awareness, there will be a drastic reduction in the cases of child abuse and violence against children.

” We frankly hope that with the training the social welfare workers who lives in communities where these abuses are being done, we hope that at the end of the day they will be able to educate their immediate peers, parents and all member so their communities that violence against children is a crime and it attracts some punishments,” she said.

Some of the participants said they have been better equipped with the knowledge and skills to handle issues of child abuse, exploitation and emotional abuse which they say is rampant in many communities.

They stressed that social workers have been doing their to find a way of mitigating the issues, and they are confident that the training will help them in the better management of the issues through sensitization and awareness.