MBALE- A total of 7,805 cases of domestic violence are reported to police in Mbale District every year, majority of whom are against children, a report has revealed.
According to the Civil Society Organisation (CSO) policy statement, there is a growing and increasing domestic violence against children in the sub-region.
Presenting the report at a one-day dialogue on child protection at Mbale District chambers, the World Vision programme manager, Mr Edward Mugeni, said domestic violence against children has forced many to drop out of school and get married.
Mr Mugeni revealed that 56 per cent of girls in Mbale are married off before the age of 18.
He said about 28.1 per cent of children in the district are not in school while 18 per cent are orphaned, which he attributed to poverty, marital conflicts, alcoholism and drug abuse.
He called upon the district leadership to enact by-laws that will keep children in school, stop domestic violence and child labour.
Jackline Nambozo, a Primary Seven pupil at Namanyonyi Primary School, who presented a statement on child protection, urged district leaders and police to protect children.
“Despite government putting policies in place to safeguard children, many of them are still at a distinct disadvantage in almost all areas of life. There are increasing levels of child labour,”Nambozo said.
She added that there is rampant defilement and teenage marriages in the district.
“Cases of this nature are reported to police and others are not. For example, there is a 47-year-old man [Umar Diope] who defiled a nine-year-old girl in Primary Two at Namanyonyi Primary School. The suspect was arrested but later released under unclear circumstances,” she added..
She also called for the establishment of a children’s parliament at the district level where children can share issues in debates and essay competitions every month.
The head of the police’s family and children protection unit in Elgon region, Ms Beatrice Makoba, said they will increase community policing across the entire region to scale down such cases.
The district vice chairman, Jorumu Mayasa, pledged to table the concerns raised in the next council meeting.