DSWD6 to NGOs: help stop child abuse

THE head of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Field Office VI called Non-Government Organizations (NGO) anew to help stop child abuse and exploitation.

“Let us work together to put an end to child sexual abuse and exploitation. We, at the government, cannot do it alone,” said DSWD regional director Rebecca P. Geamala.

Geamala was recently the guest speaker of the Buklod, Tugon, Sigaw 2018, a convention for concerted efforts in combating child sexual abuse and exploitation held in Bacolod City.

The activity was initiated by Break the Silence National Network, an NGO supported by Stairway Foundation Incorporated.

“Much as we would want to help everyone, we have a limited number of social workers. We are thus happy that our NGO partners are helping us out,” Geamala said.

Republic Act 7610 or the Anti Child Abuse Law defines child abuse as “maltreatment, whether habitual or not, of the child” which includes any of the following:

  • Psychological and physical abuse, neglect, cruelty, sexual abuse and emotional maltreatment;
  • Any act by deeds or words which debases, degrades or demeans the intrinsic worth and dignity of a child as a human being;
  • Unreasonable deprivation of his basic needs for survival, such as food and shelter; or
  • Failure to immediately give medical treatment to an injured child resulting in serious impairment of his growth and development or in his permanent incapacity or death prohibits child prostitution and other sexual Abuse.

Geamala recalled her life as a child saying that she grew up in a big family.

“I had to work as a helper to earn my keep. I also had to provide for the needs of my siblings because our mother just seemed to give birth every year,” she said.

She shuffled from studying, working as a househelp and even selling vegetables and eggs at school. Geamala said that she was a government scholar too and the state sent her to college. “Had I not availed of such, I would not have realized my dream.”

“The point is we have to give that hope, that opportunity to every child. That child could have a dream to lift her family from poverty. If the child is left in the quagmire of child abuse, or worst of sexual abuse, we won’t be giving her hope. But if intervention is given, we can make her dream come true and she could even improve her family’s life,” Geamala stressed. (May Castillo)

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