The police have warned parents to be extra vigilant over the safety of their children during the Easter break.
As schools break off for the Easter holidays, the police have cautioned parents to be extra careful about the safety of their children while at home.
According to Fred Enanga the police spokesperson, much as the school holiday is a joyous time, it is also a time, where parents, guardians, caretakers, and local leaders need to be extra-cautious about the safety of children in their homes.
Enanga said children love to go about travelling and visiting colleagues including in the neighbourhood but warned that this usually has underlying outcomes.
“As you are all aware, some school children have reported back for their holidays, and the remaining ones expected this week so its important to remember, that protecting children is a priority. During the holidays, there are additional friends and family members and some may want to hug your child, play, tickle and have your child sit on their lap.”
“Empower your children to say NO to unwanted touches, pictures, favours etc by adults or other children (Be sure to tell your child how other children may do things that are inappropriate or safe). If your child (or any other child in your life says “NO” or “STOP”, their decision or boundary, should be respected,” Enanga tipped.
He urged parents to pay attention to any other bad vices including Child Abuse.
Enanga revealed that many times, adults disregard the feelings of children, especially when a family member or trusted friend or someone they think could never harm their child, is accused by the child-victim.
The police spokesperson, however, mentioned that statistics indicate that 90% of children are sexually abused by someone they and their family know well and 70% are usually by a family member.
Additionally, he said abuse can happen at the hands of another child.
“So be alert to relationships and activities between children. Remember your child depends on you to keep them safe. If something is not right, ask questions, check-back and follow-up. You owe it to your child, to pay attention and take action, if you feel or know something is not right.”
“Teach your children to avoid keeping secrets. Secrets are often the way abusers keep children silent. Claiming its their little secret. Explain to children that secrets are usually about something unsafe or bad. Remind your child that if anyone, an adult or another child, ever asks them to keep a secret, they should tell your or a safe adult right away,” Enanga urges.
In addition, he says discussions between a child and an adult who’s not their parent should be limited. Enanga mentioned that about 80% of sexual abuse occurs in one adult-one child situation.
He said at least 30% of all child sexual abuse cases are by a child, instead of an adult. Enanga advised that it is important to monitor such discussions to ensure they do not endanger a child.
“If possible, try to look for opportunities where that time is interruptible and observable. The key is early and ongoing communication, a two-way communication, where your child feels like they can come to you and ask questions. Parents must ensure the environment and the relationship is conducive to this happening.”
Enanga further urged parents to engage in activities that help them kill off stress.
“Sometimes, the increased commitment and financial demands, impact on families during holidays leading to short tempers and possibly physical abuse of a child. It is advised to take a breather (some sort of time out for adults), to de-stress and calm down, when you feel out of control, call a friend and ask for support,” he added.