Residents and leaders in Nakaseke district are concerned over a reported increase in cases of child abuse and neglect. They demand urgent action to eliminate all practices that threaten the future of Ugandan children.
Up to 54 cases of child abuse were recorded between May and July, this year, according to a report released by the District Probation Officer Joan Luswata. These include 32 cases of child neglect, seven cases of early marriages, seven foster care cases, six abandoned children and two gruesome murders.
Luswata blamed the trend on poverty, cultural misconceptions and fading parental guidance in the district. She adds that the probation office is overwhelmed with child abuse cases but financially constrained to fight them.
Julius Nabimanya, the district Councillor for Kinoni Sub County says early marriages are prevalent in his area because a number of parents and leaders condone it. Nabimanya adds that locals consider children as a source of income, while others grace early marriage functions without either condemning them or notifying Police
Nakaseke District Chairman Ignatius Koomu Kiwanuka observes a need to strengthen sensitization and enforcement of laws against such practices.
A Similar study conducted by World Vision on child abuse and neglect across all sub counties in Nakaseke district in 2013, revealed that community members were not content with the way abusers through the legal system.
Nakaseke District Police Commander Justus Asiimwe faults the public for concealing information on cases of child abuse within their communities.
In March this year, Parliament of Uganda passed the amended children act which states that every child has a right to be protected against all forms of violence including sexual abuse and exploitation, child sacrifice, child labor, child marriage, child trafficking, institutional abuse, female genital mutilation, and any other form of physical and emotional abuse.
It also compels all members of society to report cases of abuse to designated authorities but this is yet to be seen in Nakaseke.