Police report irks child welfare chief

Photo caption: OCFS Executive Director, Simon Yanis. Cyril Gare file picture.

By CYRIL GARE

A REPORT by police in the media that “children are still target of sexual abuse” in the National Capital District has irked the Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS).

OCFS Executive Director, Simon Yanis told Sunday Chronicle yesterday he was concerned primarily because the report insinuated that the National Government and its agencies were not doing anything or enough to address the issue of children’s welfare and their protection in the country.

In fact, he said the government, in the last term, has put in place legislative and policy framework which has “revolutionized” the platform for child protection and family welfare services in the country than any other government since Independence.

OCFS is created under Section 29 of the Lukautim Pikinini Act (LPA), a law passed by Parliament with “absolute majority” in 2015. LPA is run and administered by an Executive Director whose office is created under Section 29.

Mr Yanis was responding to a Post-Courier report on Friday (p9) which quoted policewomen Senior Sergeant Fiona Kakarere of the Family Violence and Sexual Offences squad who stated that children in NCD were still the target of sexual offenders.

According to her, a survey carried out recently by the police Sexual Offences Unit revealed that 70 per cent of sexual harassment cases in NCD involved children who were under 12 years of age.

Sen-Sgt Kakarere said since January, more than 100 cases have been reported, the most controversial of which involved a grade 12 student who sexually penetrated a minor in February which sparked a public outcry.

Mr Yanis said child protection “is everybody’s business”.

However, he said that while he appreciated the efforts of the police in trying to address child protection issue, every effort must adhere to and comply with the government’s legislative and policy framework that would require a “collectively approach” with and through the OCFS.

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