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    Monday, 30 November 2015

    Anti-child sexual abuse team descends on Masvingo

    Runesu Gwidi

    MASVINGO - The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has sent out a high-powered four-member delegation into schools in Masvingo to assess the effectiveness of programmes aimed at curbing sexual abuse.
    The team will assess every school's mechanism against child sexual and other forms of abuse, said Masvingo provincial education director, Zedius Chitiga in an interview with The Mirror.
    This monitoring exercise will look at guidance and counselling, sexuality, life skills, as well as HIV and AIDS prevention among pupils at the schools.
    The team comprises experts in guidance and counselling.
    It started its mission on Monday last week and it will move from school to school. The amount of time that the team will spend on this programme will depend on their workload.
    The move by the Ministry follows hair-raising cases of child sexual abuse in some schools in the province.
    Chitiga said sexual abuse of children in schools is "intolerable" and the Ministry is taking drastic measures against the culprits.
     "It is in this view that the Ministry has sent the four top officials to gauge the effectiveness of programmes to empower children against abuse.  I have the team's itinerary in my office. This monitoring exercise will precisely look at guidance and counselling, sexuality, life skills, as well as HIV and AIDS prevention among pupils at the schools in Masvingo province," Chitiga said.
    He said that the Ministry recently held workshops in Chivi, Mwenezi, Chiredzi and Masvingo districts to train teachers in child guidance and counselling, as well as the protection of child rights.
    There have been numerous cases of discharge of teachers from schools over abuse of children and the latest case involves a teacher at Makwau Secondary School in Zaka for having sexual intercourse with a pupil.  Although the courts acquitted him, he ultimately lost his job because of the alleged sex escapades.
    Chitiga could not, however be drawn into furnishing The Mirror with the statistics of sexual abuse involving school children.
    Meanwhile, National Aids Council Provincial co-ordinator for Masvingo, Evos Makoni has urged hospitals and clinics to inform parents whenever they treat minors with Sexually Transmitted Infections.
    He said parents should report such to the Police.
    "Failure to report abusers of minors is like hiding away culprits of grievous crimes. They must be unmasked," said Makoni.
    Makoni also said there must be collective effort between the nurses, doctors, teachers, as well as parents and guardians to sniff out all suspected culprits of child sexual abuse so that they are brought to book.
    Recently a woman from Mucheke Suburb in Masvingo was arraigned at the Masvingo Magistrates' Court for allegedly sexually abusing five kids who she did not only made to lick her private parts but had sexual intercourse with them as well. An official from the Victim Friendly Unity (VFU) which interviews minors and carries out investigations into cases of child abuses told the Mirror that cases of child abuses especially from schools are just alarming.
    Provincial Police spokesperson, Inspector Dehwa urged the community to immediately report all cases of child abuse.
    "ZRP carrying out campaigns against child sexual abuse, while investigations at schools and other institutions have since been scaled up," said Insp Dehwa. education
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