Protection of child rights and mitigation of child abuse : a case of community response mechanisms in Hoima District
Agaba, John Edward
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The purpose of the study was to examine protection of child rights and mitigation of child rights in Hoima District – Uganda. It aimed at establishing factors that lead to child abuse and neglect despite the existence of sufficient legal frame work to assess the defects that exist on the legal Institutional framework that protect children’s rights and also assess how gender roles affect the realization of child rights. The investigation was based on a descriptive survey under qualitative research approach. Primary data was collected with help of questionnaires and observations while secondary data was obtained from the review of documents and internet. Analysis of data collected was by use of Microsoft excel to come up with the findings presented in the dissertation. Research indicated that females (60%) participated more into the study as compared to men because they spend much of the time mentoring children. Poverty was one of the factors that lead to child abuse, polygamous marriages, death of parents, domestic violence, negligence of parents, child denying, child beating, child trafficking, property grabbing, absentee parents, drug abuse, child sacrifice and child abduction, torture and infanticide, ignorance about the existing laws, high illiteracy levels and limited sensitization to people about the dangers of child abuse. Findings on second objective indicated that Communities have police posts that have helped enforce law and order in their communities with the help of local council authorities. However, the presence of police posts in communities has not stopped Child abusers from abusing children Other than police posts, communities have other organizations that fight for children’s rights spread out in different communities such as Buswekeera, Kasingo, Buhimba, and Kiryatete villages. These organizations include; Child Care International, Save the Children, Plan Uganda, Compassion Uganda among others. Findings established from the effects of gender roles on realization of child rights were; disability, psychological torture, sickness, missing classes, dropping out of school, stigma among fellow children, street children, psychological torture and lack of basic needs. In conclusion, understanding gender is key to developing strategies to end discrimination. Conducting gender and child rights analysis should be an integral part of child rights. This xii analysis will determine the key duty-bearers and the extent to which children’s right to gender equality is being violated. The study recommends that government should increase support and funding to Police Child and Family Protection Units and District Probation Offices to effectively undertake their duties in the area of child rights and protection. Key to add is the amendment of Section 43 of the Evidence Act Cap 6 to allow medical practitioners at a level of Clinical officers to examine the victims of sexual abuse. Many victims of defilement cannot access justice due to the few or absence of medical officers who are mandated under this Act to examine the victims and provide a report.