Prevent and educate: The importance of protocols in cases of sexual abuse in children's institutions

May 3, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

How to achieve effective measures that reduce cases of child sexual abuse in the country? Generating protocols that include a preventive look for the early detection of situations of abuse, seems to be a solution that can bring effective answers.

Photo: Agency One.

According to figures given by the Public Ministry, it is estimated that, in Chile, one in three girls and one in five children are or will be victims of some type of sexual violence before reaching 18 years of age. A worrying fact, considering that by 2017, the Superintendency of Education indicated that accusations of sexual abuse within schools increased by 26%.

Earlier this year, the Constitution Committee of the Senate and Special Childhood, approved the bill that establishes the imprescriptibility of sexual crimes against minors, passing to second legislative procedure. This reactivated the discussion on the urgent need for policies and prevention programs in cases of child sexual abuse.

Creepy cases such as the uncovering of abuses committed within the Catholic Church, what happened with Amber, a one-year-old girl who was raped and murdered at the hands of her caregiver; or the denunciation of undue tactics by a student to his classmates of the San Alonso de Ovalle School; They are part of the testimonies that have accelerated legislative actions that seek to protect those who suffer this type of violence.

Trust and courage

Building spaces of trust to prevent and identify possible situations of abuse become a fundamental task for the State and civil society. Currently, the Ministry of Social Development is running a campaign called "#ElPeorAbuso", With the purpose of informing and raising awareness in the community about child abuse.

In the portal, states that its seriousness is that it is "the sum of all abuses: abuse of conscience, psychological abuse, abuse of power, physical abuse and sexual abuse. And also deliberately committed on a boy or girl who has no chance to defend. " With this, they recognize that the efforts of the State are often insufficient and compromise a more effective work of society in their fight.

Protagonists in this fight have been Foundation for Trust with your program "Partnerships for Trust". They work directly with entities that deal with children and adolescents, in the review, improvement and validation of prevention protocols and detection of abuse situations. "It is a job involving the directors, educators, assistants and students, and consists of four stages: diagnosis, training, co-construction and improvement of the protocol, and finally validation," says José Andrés Murillo, Executive Director of the foundation.

"It is important that there are such measures because abuses are always perpetuated within abusive contexts. The educational communities do not always build a document that adapts to their context or socialize it with their teams. This makes prevention very difficult because schools do it "voluntarily", when in reality they should guarantee a space for protection and care ", adds the director of Para la Confianza, on the implementation of this type of regulations.

Photo: Valiant Girls.

To educate is to empower

Brave Girls Foundation She has been working for about a year inside the classrooms, gender violence issues with girls of different levels. Her work is based on the idea that education is the tool to make girls more empowered, participatory and aware of their environment.

For Emilia Vergara, Executive Director of the foundation, it is important to complement preventive and denunciation regulations, with a quality sexual education. "Our work with the institutions goes more in consciousness on the importance of these subjects. We seek to open sexual education not only to a reproductive area, but integral. One that understands and manages issues of consent, "he says.

"It is not enough to generate subsequent protocols, accompanying and reporting, but it is also necessary to incorporate a preventive perspective. We believe it is essential to provide tools so that girls have knowledge about these issues. That they understand about consent, about its limits. Let's talk about sexuality in an integral way, "concludes the Director of Valiant Girls about the character that should have this type of regulations to avoid repeating cases such as those of Amber or the school San Ignacio Alonso de Ovalle.

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