Children are making a stand against abuse during the lockdown periods

It has been widely reported that during this pandemic, cases of child abuse and exploitation are increasing. Due to the community lockdown measures in which children are prohibited to go outside, they are likely to experience domestic violence.

They are also vulnerable to online exploitation. According to the Anti-Money Laundering Council, there is an alarming increase of 252% of suspicious transactions related online sexual exploitation in 2020.

With this emerging trends that concern children, World Vision, a child-focused organization, is stepping up its child protection efforts to keep children safe from violence and exploitation.

In Negros Occidental, the organization is empowering children from neighborhood to neighborhood to equip them on how to protect themselves from abuse and exploitation.

World Vision is implementing its Child Protection Life Skills Workshop to children 6 to 11 years old. “We aim to teach children on how to keep themselves safe by sharing them what to do and where to report during an abusive situation,” shares World Vision Programme Officer in Negros Occidental, Vincent Mallillin.

Since January this year until March, the team already trained a total of 420 children. Each workshop takes two days to complete the age-appropriate and engaging 30-session module.

Aside from empowering the children, the parents also went through positive parenting seminars to remind them about their role to children. The organization also partners with the local government and various agencies such as the social welfare office and the police department to strengthen protection and reporting measures.

“We envision a community where children thrive in a safe and protective environment and where they can develop their full potential including their capability to protect themselves in harmful situations,” explains Mallillin.

“Also with our Child Protection workshop and advocacy to local government officials, community leaders, and parents, we see a huge change in terms of implementing and following policies to safeguard children,” the World Vision staff added.

During the workshop activity, health protocols were strictly followed such as facemask, limited mass gathering, and social distancing to ensure safety of children from the pandemic. The World Vision staff also implemented activities in areas where there are no COVID cases recorded.

Photos by Vincent Mallillin / Story by Mong Jimenez

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