The minister of State for Youth and Children Affairs, Sarah Nyirabashitsi Mateke has decried the alarming rate of child abuse in the form of defilement, physical torture, teenage pregnancy and neglect.
According to the Annual Police Crime Report (2020), a total of 14,230 children were defiled in 2020. 14,080 of them were females and 140 boys.
It also indicated that 1,280 were children in the age bracket of 0 -8 years, 2,980 were in the age bracket of 9- 14 years and 9,954 in the age bracket of 15-17 years.
Mateke said this is very disturbing news to everyone besides the perpetrators of these crimes, adding that what is more unsettling is that 120 of these children were defiled by their parents, 120 by the guardians, 52 by teachers and 301 by persons who are HIV positive.
“It’s clear that many more children are suffering in silence. This is not the way we want to take care of our children. What we are experiencing is a failure in leadership at the family and community levels, ”she said.
She urged the parents and guardians to wake up to their responsibilities of ensuring that children in their custody are safe and secure.
“The law requires parents and guardians to provide for the welfare and protection of their children and failure to provide this, the law prescribes charges of neglect. Community members are required to ensure that children are living in a safe environment and where cases of abuse occur, community members are supposed to report immediately to police and other local leaders,” she said.
She noted community members should desist from looking on and not taking any action when children are being abused, adding that the government is committed to providing and protecting children.