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Police officers, others edified on child protection

Mar 8, 2011, 2:24 PM | Article By: Isatou Senghore

The Reproductive and Child Health Programme Unit under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, in collaboration with two international organizations, recently held a day-long workshop on child protection for the police unit of Social Welfare and Child Protection Alliance (CPA).

The workshop, which brought together officers in charge of major facilities and staff of the two organizations - Emergency Maternal and Child Health Advocacy International (EMCAI) and Medical Education Charity (MEC), was held at the Central Medical Store in Kotu.

Funded by the EMCAI, the workshop also brought together healthcare workers, partners in the field of child protection and decision-makers to broaden their understanding of issues of child abuse, child health and protection and on what can be done to redress and improve protection of children from all forms of abuse.

Speaking at the workshop, the director (Gambia) of EMCAI, Dr David Southall, said sexual abuse of children involves forcing or enticing a child or young person to take part in sexual activities whether or not the child is aware of what is happening, adding that the activities may involve physical contact including penetration of body orifice.

Child abuse or maltreatment constitutes all forms of physical or emotional ill-treatment including sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment and commercial exploitation, resulting in hindering the child’s health, survival and development.

Dr Southall says the factors that may make children  vulnerable  to abuse and ill-treatment are prematurity, separation and impaired bonding in the neonatal period, physical or mental handicap, behavioural problems and difficult temperament or personality on when to raise concerns with parents.