PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT TO CHILDREN IN EPWORTH THROUGH THE ORGANISATION DROP IN CENTERS
Drop-in centers are one of the multiple responses providing psychosocial support to abused children by offering pre-trial and post-trial support. Prior to 2014, Drop in Centre’s was non- existent in Epworth until Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care partnered Justice for Children to set up a friendly, accessible and convenient facility. The Centre has had very positive results. Consultative meetings held by Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care with communities and Epworth-Ruwa District Child Protection Committee (DCPC) to discuss the child rights situation within the district pointed to the significant rise in the number of children being sexually abused. Statistics revealed that girls are more at risk than boys. Of all case cases of child abuse handled by Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care and Justice for Children in 2014, 20% were boys and while 80% were girls. An immediate response was to establish a drop in Centre to provide psychosocial support to survivors of abuse. The first drop- in- Centre was established and officially opened in 2014. The Drop-in Centre’s visibility has increased because of its accessibility in the community. There is now ease of coordination in case management as referrals are made to and from the drop- in Centre to key partners in the system namely the Department of Social Services, the Police, all in one locality. Pre-trial counseling sessions are being done more regularly by Shanduko Yeupenyu Child Care and Justice for Children. Children are being prepared for court and helped to overcome their fears, thus enabling courts to quickly conclude judgments on cases of child abuse. Other partners and the communities are now accessing psychosocial support services, as evidenced by increased referrals. “The organization Drop- in- Centre has greatly enhanced the psychosocial support role of the DSS which is very key for all survivors of child sexual abuse to equip them to live a socially productive life after experiencing abuse,” said the Epworth- Ruwa District Case Management Officer
In Zimbabwe most of girl children are married at the age of 18 and below and an estimated 3 in every 10 girls affected by the situation. Most affected girls are from rural and peri-urban areas and farms and coming from poor families. Adolescent girls shows that child marriage is one of the big challenge that will force them to complete secondary education level and increase the number of girls infected by HIV and other disease. Did you know that? Child marriages constitutes forced marriage, even one feels that there is any agreement with the child. According to Zimbabwe constitution anyone under the age of 18 in not able to make a full informed choice. Most of the girls stop going to school soon after getting married and the girl is infringed her right to education. This will contribute more decrease on country economic because the country will have more uneducated people. In Zimbabwe culture and religious practices contribute to prevalence of child marriage, these include wife inheritance, sexual play between girls and their sister husband, and child pledging.
In Zimbabwe’s Domestic Violence Act and National Gender Policy criminalize all harmful cultural practices such as child marriage and child pledging. And in Zimbabwe’s new constitution defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years, sets 18 years
ALL MEN LETS STAND UP AND SHOUT AGAINST CHILD MARRIAGES TODAY!!