JAKARTA, 7 July 2014 – The Government of Indonesia and UNICEF have joined together to urge the media to help #ENDviolence against children by raising awareness of the risks to children and the impact they suffer, as well as showing children affected by violence how they can get help.
The call came as part of roundtable discussions between the Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection, Linda Gumelar, the Minister of Health, Nafsiah Mboi, UNICEF’s Representative, Angela Kearney, and the editors of several newspapers, radio and television stations in Jakarta on the coverage of violence against children.
A series of recently reported abuse cases led to a public discussion on child abuse in Indonesia. According to Indonesia’s Commission on Child Protection (KPAI), more than 7000 cases of child abuse were reported to them between 2011 and 2013, and over 30 per cent of these were cases of sexual abuse.
“And that’s probably just the tip of the iceberg,” Minister of Health Nafsiah Mboi told the meeting.
The Government of Indonesia and UNICEF asked gathered editors and journalists for their help in protecting victims of violence by spreading the message that violence is never acceptable.
“Its not always physical, it not always sexual. Early marriage and forced labour are also forms of child abuse,” said UNICEF Representative Angela Kearney. “All violence against children can and must be prevented. I urge the new president to make violence against children a priority.”
Outgoing President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, last month issued an instruction to Ministries and other government institutions to address violence against children as a national emergency. UNICEF has supported this initiative including through the production of life skills materials equipping young children to say no to abuse.
Media were advised that violence is often hidden by social tolerance, stigma and taboo. The authorities need to detect and intervene in cases at the earliest opportunity, and provide on-going care to victims and their families.
Children can get help by calling the police on 110 or by calling the Ministry of Social Welfare’s hotline on 129.
Parents, teachers and other adults should also use these numbers to alert the authorities when they suspect a child is being abused.
In order to prevent the reoccurrence of violence, attitudes towards abuse of children must change. The editors and reporters were asked to spread the message that violence against children is never their fault.
“We need our work on violence against children to be a continuous movement, not just a one time response,” said Minister of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar.
Finally, the Government of Indonesia and UNICEF asked the media to protect victims by not allowing them to be re-victimised through exposure to public attention. The best interests of the child must always come first.