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Papua New Guinea

Child abuse should be addressed

IT is hard to imagine anything worse than purposely causing a child to suffer, sometimes to the point of death.
Yet it’s an everyday story in this world.
It is part of human nature that people will often be secretive and tight-lipped about sexual offences involving their immediate and extended family members.
Crimes such as rape, incest and child abuse will often remain a family secret, tucked away in the dark corners of people’s minds, because of the fear of breaking up the family unit or losing the breadwinners.
Police and relevant authorities have been calling on parents and guardians to be mindful of where and who they leave their children with.
Last week, officers from the sexual offences squad (SOS) unit in Port Moresby released disturbing news on the rise in the number of cases of sexual abuse and exploitation of minors.
In fact, the numbers had doubled to 150 from January to September this year compared to past years.
The revelation that sexual offences against children may be rife and are increasing is worrisome.
That statement should ring alarm bells among families in the city.
They have also been warned by Port Moresby police chief Perou N’dranou to be vigilant and not trust people who live with them or who they live with.
Child abuse is all the worse when it occurs at the hands of an authority figure to whom a child should be able to turn for protection and security.
It’s a harsh and often deadly betrayal of trust.
It would appear that there are many people who are keeping a golden silence about sexual offences committed by their family members.
They are even reluctant to divulge information to police about their sick-minded relatives, which is as bad as the actual offence.
By protecting their family’s honor and survival, they have sacrificed their children and female members to the forces of evil.
Both the wrong-doers and their accomplices should be apprehended and brought before the courts to answer for these crimes.
Sex crimes like rape, incest and child abuse will continue to go unattended by police if family members do not stand up and speak out against their so-called loved ones.
There may be all sorts of societal factors at work: Ignorance, poverty, a lack of education and resources.
But none of that excuses the crime.
And it’s not limited to any one societal faction.
Indeed, it takes a brave family to reveal this social evil that is eating away at the very fabric of our society.
Their cooperation with the police and local authorities is vital in preventing sexual crimes from strangling families and affecting the communities they live in.
Child abuse can have many harmful consequences.
There are many other cases where abused children are more likely to commit crimes, abuse their own children, drugs and alcohol abuse, and it becomes a never-ending cycle of destructive behavior if child abuse is not prevented.
This is an issue that calls for vigilance from all of us.

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