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Neglect tops abuse category

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Thursday, June 19, 2014

THE Ministry of Health says neglect is the most common form of child abuse.

Ministry child protection focal point officer Dr Reapi Mataika, in an interview at yesterday's launch of the Child Protection Guidelines, said while sexual abuse was commonly known in our communities, people needed to understand that neglect accounted for the vast majority of child abuse.

"Child abuse comes in many forms — the one that makes the media a lot is sexual abuse but there is physical and the most common is neglect," Dr Mataika said.

"Under neglect comes malnutrition, lack of supervision and even motor vehicle accidents on children and even medical negligence.

"Sexual abuse is a smaller percentage compared to neglect."

Dr Mataika said the ministry had taken a few negligence cases to court, adding it was important that parents understood the value of children and the consequences of neglect and child abuse.

She said previous years' trend showed a case popped up every three months. This, however, has changed to one case every fortnight saying this could either be that the child abuse cases have increased or because people have no choice but to report it because of the 2010 Child Welfare Decree.

"We have even had a few children removed from the care of their parents and we have made them wards of the State, meaning they come under Social Welfare because of child abuse.

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