By Florence Onuegbu, Lagos.
The Lagos State Government, through its Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), has cautioned parents and guardians to pay close attention to their children and wards, especially during the festive period.
The Executive Secretary, DSVA, Mrs Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, gave the advice in a statement on Friday in Lagos.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that the advice became necessary following the increasing trend in reported cases received by the agency of children being sexually abused.
She said that the increase in reported cases of child sexual abuse was becoming alarming, hence, parents and guardians must be extra-vigilant, especially during the festive period.
The executive secretary, who decried the worrisome trend, said that some perpetrators, especially persons who were well known to the children, took advantage of their position to sexually assault them.
She encouraged parents and guardians to use the opportunity presented by the festive period to bond and promote fellowship with their children and wards.
Vivour-Adeniyi underscored the need for parents to teach children about their rights, monitor what they were being exposed to and teach them how to set boundaries.
According to her, parents should instruct the children to always speak up, when they find themselves in any uncomfortable situation.
She further encouraged parents and guardians to take advantage of free resources on the agency’s website – www.dsvalagos.org.
Vivour-Adeniyi also urged them to make use of “Safeguarding the rights of a child”, a colourful book for children, as well as the booklet on “What You Must Know About Child Abuse”.
“We are leaving no stone unturned with our holistic approach and the collaborative efforts of relevant responder agencies, once the referral pathway is activated for the safety of survivors,” she said.
Vivour-Adeniyi said that the state government had resolved that survivors of sexual and gender based violence should be able to access immediate help, irrespective of the holiday season.
She urged residents to report all cases of domestic and sexual violence via the toll-free line — 08000 333 333 — even during the festive period.