The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) last week called upon the schools to play a bigger role in helping address child abuse in the country.

Deputy Chairman of the NCPA, Sajeeva Samaranayake said the inclusion of schools is a challenge as many of them try to get rid of the child whenever there is a problem of child abuse. He added that the Government had not prioritized the issue of child abuse.

“This depends a lot on the principal of the school, he mentioned, adding that principals view these children and the issue of child abuse as a contagious disease and therefore do not want the children to mix with each other out of the fear that other children would get spoiled,” he added.

It was recently reported by the Judicial Medical Officer of the Polonnaruwa District, Dr. P. Seneviratne that the most number of child abuse cases on a district level were reported from firstly, Polonnaruwa (220 in 2015), secondly, Anuradhapura and thirdly, Ratnapura. Dr. Seneviratne is also reported as having stated that he had not seen any child welfare activities in the Polonnaruwa District.

“The Ministry of Health has planned to set up a safe house in each Province, which will be attached to the main hospital in the area,” he explained, adding that such a move would shift the focus from the Police to the hospital and thereby emphasize the therapeutic aspect.