True to its commitment to ‘Changing Lives’ NDB Bank through its CSR initiative- Prevention for Child Abuse( PCAT) have embarked on a ambitious effort to address and prevent child abuse in the country.
A series of comprehensive workshops under on this theme have been sponsored by the Bank through this Trust. The most recent of these programmes was held at Royal College, Colombo for the Western Province Educational Zone with the participation of more than 100 school principals and representatives of other educational institutes.
The awareness programmes conducted in collaboration with the Department of Probation and Child Care aims to educate children, parents and school administrators on child abuse and its prevention, an issue that’s not addressed openly in local communities.
The key speakers at the event were Mr. Sarath Abeygunawardena, Commissioner, Department of Probation and Child Care, Mr. Manoj Samarasekera, Inspector of Police at the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women of the Sri Lanka Police and Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya, Senior Lecturer at the Colombo University. The speakers who are experts in their respective fields, shared their concerns on the issue of child abuse, the various measures that can be adopted to prevent it and how to address the issue in a responsible manner.
Sri Lanka being a member of the United Nations, and having signed the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child ( 1989) has adopted the UN definition of ‘child’ and introduced it into Sri Lankan law as a person under the age of 18 years. It has been reported that, on average, 5-10 cases of child abuse are reported daily in this country. It is also established that almost 20% of these child victims are below the age of eight. Medical opinion and research has established that Child abuse and neglect leave lasting scars on the victims and retard a child’s ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships at home, in school and in its social environment in general.
Highlighting the magnitude of Child Abuse and its adverse impact on children who are the future of our country, Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya stated that with more awareness and education child abuse can be prevented and addressed before children fall prey to social predators.
Child abuse can be defined (in simple terms) as the physical, sexual and/or emotional ill treatment, or neglect of children. Due to lack of awareness about the parameters of child abuse, most people could, even unintentionally, contribute to this rapidly growing social phenomenon. Child abuse occurs, by and large, within the following key areas: the family and surrounding environment; schools and other places of education; orphanages, hostels and other places of residence and social institutions within the community. Knowledge becomes a powerful weapon in the battle against child abuse, the more aware people become of its occurrence, the more society can do to prevent such abuse as well as to assist in the rehabilitation of those who have already been subjected to trauma and similar physical or emotional damage.”