Community Development and Social Services Minister Doreen MwambaCommunity Development and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba
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THE Government has facilitated the development of the National Prevention and Response Plan that will provide guidelines to help facilitate and address challenges that exist in preventing and responding to violence against children.

Community Development and Social Services Minister Doreen Mwamba said where violence occurred, the child should have immediate access to services that would facilitate recovery and continued development.

Speaking during the launch, Ms. Mwamba said the National Prevention and Response Plan would seek to accelerate evidence based multi-sectoral actions aimed to address violence against children.

“The aim of the plan is to facilitate the identification and address of underlying causes for violence against children, further the plan would help set a platform for holistic provision of care for child survivors of violence which is critical for the child’s recovery and development,” she said.

Ms. Mwamba said she was concerned with the rising number of teenage pregnancies and child marriages in various parts of the country which was a clear indication that children were still abused.

This she said was evidenced by the 12,882 cases teenage pregnancies recorded between January and June this year in Eastern Province out of which 400 were girls below the age of 15.

Ms. Mwamba further said, in line with the 2015 national child policy and support from stakeholders, the Government was working towards developing the national child safeguarding and protection framework and the participation framework which would provide safety and participatory procedures in the handling of children in all sectors.

Ms. Mwamba said protection of a girl child should be shared by both the state and non state actors and called for collective work towards ending all forms of violence against children in Zambia.

United Nations Resident Coordinator Coumba Mar Gadio said Zambia’s domestic laws provide good legal protection from violence but that however cases of violence against children were brushed away as not warranting serious concern.

Dr. Mar Gadio said a study conducted in Zambia in 2014 on violence against children showed that nearly 34 per cent of girls and 40 per cent of boys had experienced physical violence and that over 20 per cent of girls and 10 per cent of boys experienced sexual violence.

Dr. Mar Gadio said only a very small percentage of children who experienced sexual violence had access to services adding that such cases of abuse, went un-noticed and unreported.

“Moving forward, and as stipulated by the Plan in question, we need to improve data-management so that all levels of the Government and civil service can be recognised and held accountable for cases of violence against children that they have addressed. I would also like to remind you that Plan puts ample emphasis on preventing violence against children,” she said.

Dr. Mar Gadio commended the Government for mooting plans to set up Gender Based Violence (GBV) fast-track courts in all the ten provincial capitals, as well as GBV One-stop centers by the end of this year..

This she said would be there for every child that has experienced significant harm to be supported and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.

And the Center for Disease and Control Prevention pledged to continue providing support to the Zambian Government in a bid to end all forms of violence against children in Zambia.


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