The Lagos State Government, through the State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency and the Office of Education Quality Assurance, is set to commence the implementation of its Safeguarding and Child Protection programme in schools.
The Executive Secretary of Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, disclosed this at a one-day sensitisation programme held recently at the Adeyemi-Bero Auditorium, Alausa, organised to educate Principals, Administrators and Heads of Schools on the Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy of the State Government.
She revealed that most child abuse cases usually occur within families and communities, just as she emphasised that children also experience abuse and exploitation in organisations that provide them with support and services.
According to her, research has shown that physical, emotional abuse and neglect in child-focused organisations and institutions are less systematic and usually unplanned as it stems from poor conditions, bad work practices and negligent management.
Vivour-Adeniyi stressed that it is mandatory for all child-centred institutions to adopt and ensure full implementation of a Safeguarding and Child Protection policy.
On her part, the Director-General of Education Quality Assurance, Mrs. Abiola Seriki-Ayeni, highlighted the need for schools to recognise the role they play in ensuring the wellbeing and safety of children, especially as they spend a significant time of their day in schools.
She urged participants to take advantage of the free online course “Introduction of Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy”, which over 10,000 educators have successfully completed, encouraging those who haven’t taken the course to do so.
Two Child Protection Experts and Facilitators at the event, Mr. Taiwo Akinlami and Mrs. Modupeola Saheed-Adebambo, provided an overview of the Executive Order on Safeguarding and Child Protection programme, emphasising that critical measures schools should be taken to ensure the safety of students by providing safer recruitment procedures, adopting a safeguarding policy, having a designated safeguarding officer and establishing reporting, recording and feedback mechanisms.
The speakers gave insights into what child rights entail, societal and cultural perceptions of children as well as norms and beliefs that encourage child abuse. The Facilitators also dwelt on the issue of corporal punishment, while reminding participants of the State Government’s ‘No-Caning’ policy.
About 400 Primary and Secondary Schools students, drawn from both public and private schools, attended the programme which will be implemented in all education districts across the State.