By Josephine Agbonkhese
Lagos—AS part of efforts to curb the increasing cases of sexual and other child abuses, the Lagos State government has approved teaching of safe and unsafe touches to children in the state. The teaching is to be carried out by the Cece Yara Foundation, a child-centered non-profit organisation.
Announcing this at the unveiling of its Safe Kids Awareness Program, SKAP, in Lagos, Thursday, Executive Director, Cece Yara Foundation, Mrs Bola Tinubu, explained that the program was aimed among other things, to teach children across Lagos how to identify unsafe touches, prevent them and to report to a trusted adult.
SKAP, whose pilot scheme had reached over 2000 children in the state, according to Tinubu, “ is child-friendly, developmentally appropriate, provides clear and positive messages about setting boundaries assertively, and generally teaches children without giving explicit information or scary stories, or even using the term “sexual abuse”.
“Child sexual abuse is everywhere – in schools, homes and communities. It occurs across all socio-economic levels, with 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys falling victim before the age of 18. However, only 3% – 5% of those cases are reported in Nigeria. Worse, is that children do not generally know who to turn to when they are at risk or when they experienced abuse.
The programme she explained, “ is based on the PANTS Rule licensed to the Cece Yara Foundation by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,NCPCC based in the UK, as well as a reformatted cartoon with Nigerian characters and references licensed to the Cece Yara Foundation by ChildLine, India.
“Children who are taught about preventing sexual abuse are more likely than others to tell a trusted adult if they have or are currently experiencing sexual abuse. In fact, the children we have reached, have recorded 79% increase in their knowledge of staying away from sexual abuse.”