Notes on child abuse and exploitation-A A +A
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
THE entire country, from 9th to 17th of February, observes the National Awareness Week for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.
This year’s observance focuses on the theme “Child Pornography Wakasan: Sa Tamang Paggamit ng Internet, Bata ay Gabayan,” which underscores a more conscientious use of the internet especially among children.
Technological advances have indeed changed the way we live but it has also posed dangers especially among children. These dangers now include abuses committed over the internet and are mostly linked to child pornography.
Data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) revealed that from 2009-2012, there were some 361 cases of abuse nationwide related to child pornography.
The field office of the DSWD in the Cordillera, on the other hand, has recorded some 231 cases of sexual abuse from 2008 to 2011.
Although there was no trend observed as to the number of cases, DSWD officials fear that the numbers are even higher especially that there are still unreported cases.
With access to the Internet becoming much easier each day, the threat to children of abuse and exploitation through the internet also increases.
In 2009, Congress has enacted Republic Act 9775 or the “Anti-Child Pornography Act.” Accordingly, the law aims to protect the Filipino child from all forms of exploitation and abuse including but not limited to the use of a child in pornographic performances and materials and the inducement or coercion of a child to engage or be involved in pornography through whatever means.
Philippine law also constitutes Republic Act 7610, or the “Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act,” which aims to provide special protection to children from all firms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation, discrimination, and other conditions.
Clearly, the country has well-crafted laws in place to protect the Filipino children from pornography and all other forms of abuses. These laws, however, should be disseminated and implemented well in all levels of government and in partnership with the private sector.
Community-based programs to deter such dangers on children should be crafted. Moreover, the local government units should be at the forefront in providing protection for these vulnerable sectors.
Then, we go back to the family as the basic unit of society. The family should be the take-off point in protecting children from abuse and exploitation.
Parents should educate their children on how they can best protect themselves from abuse especially outside their homes. They ought to also realize that the home must be the safest place for the children where they should feel loved and protected.
Parents must learn to recognize their roles in protecting and promoting the welfare of their children and that they are the foremost line of defense not the first perpetrators or abusers of their own children.
It is our responsibility as parents, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, uncles and aunts, neighbors, and friends, to protect one another and ensure that only the best interest and welfare of the child are well sheltered.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on February 13, 2013.