The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) on Tuesday advised parents to communicate freely with their children in order to ascertain their lifestyles and protect them from harm.
UNICEF’s Child Protection Specialist, Mr Dennis Onoise gave the advice in Zaria at the ongoing workshop on Violence Against Children (VAC) organised by UNICEF and NOA for community facilitators in Kaduna State.
According to him, parents need to pay more attention to their children and provide them with their basic needs in order to insulate them from sexual, emotional and physical violence.
“Many of the children who are abused are children whose parents are not paying attention to them. We need to talk to parents about appropriate parenting.
“Parents have the responsibility to make sure their children are well protected because abused children tend to engage in negative activities like terrorism and prostitution,” he said.
Onoise said that the workshop was organised to discuss and develop dialogue guidelines with community facilitators where violence against children was common.
He said that UNICEF and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) had conducted a similar workshop for religious and traditional leaders to sensitise them on the menace of violence against children.
The UNICEF official said that the religious and traditional leaders were prepared to collaborate with UNICEF and NOA in putting an end to violence against children in their communities.
He said that social health workers, sexual assault centre managers, youth leaders and women leaders in the communities would be engaged as community facilitators.
Onoise also disclosed that parents and caregivers would be engaged through theatre for development, video screening of real-life stories of violence against children and other channels of sensitisation.