The UNICEF, WHO and a group of other world organisations have called on the governments to take united efforts to protect the children from the clutches of exploitation, abuse and violence as part of broader response to Coronavirus epidemic.
All government should take preventive, response plans and gender sensitive measures to protect children from exploitation, abuse, neglect and violence. The appeal top all governments was signed by the chiefs of WHO, UNICEF and all other child related organisations.
They said that the collective response should include the following;
- Maintain essential health and social welfare services such as mental health and psycho-social support
- Continuing care and protection for children in institutions
- Providing child protection case management
- Ensuring social protection for the most vulnerable children and households
- Providing emergency alternative care arrangements
- Communicating with and engaging parents, caregivers and children with evidence based information and advice.
The leaders also maintained that school counsellors and National help lines and other mechanisms must enable children in distress to reach out for help. They should also adapt to the challenges of the epidemic.
With respect to online harms, they said that tech companies and telecoms providers must take all steps to keep children safe online. As part of ensuring safety, they should provide access to cost free child help lines, safe e-education platforms and age-appropriate services. They should also take steps to detect and stop harmful activities against children such as creation and distribution of child sexual abuse images and videos.
The lockdown in several countries have affected more than 1.5 billion children. Restrictions of movement, income loss, isolation and stress have increased and likely to impact on children. They might be physically, psychologically and sexually abused at home. This might happen more in children already living in violent or dysfunctional family situations.