PARENTS and guardians must be reminded of their responsibilities to protect and develop the most valuable and important resource the children, Minister for Community Development Dame Carol Kidu said.
Dame Carol warned parents that they must always know where their children were and what was happening in their lives.
She issued this warning after viewing some photographs in police possession concerning an on-going investigation into a child sexual abuse case.
“Although I cannot detail what I had seen, I am disgusted by such blatant sexual abuse of our children and I am calling on all parents and guardians to know their responsibilities and protect children from all forms of sexual abuse,” she said.
Under the Lukautim Pikinini Act and the Criminal Code Amendments 2002 on all forms of child sexual abuse, any person under the age of 18 years is classified as a child and is protected by the law, even if the activity was consented.
Dame Carol said in all societies, when poverty increases, potential sexual abuse against innocent children also increases, and strengthening laws was only a part of the solution.
She said implementing the laws often became very difficult for the police when parents and civil societies in general did not give their support to protect the children.
Dame Carol’s secretary Joseph Klapat and the department’s child welfare division, when viewing the photographs, expressed extreme frustration because of lack of support from the parents and guardians.
“Poverty can be blamed for many problems but must never be used as an excuse for any form of abuse of our children.
“And I would be most grateful to all churches to bring awareness to their congregations about our responsibilities to protect all children from all sorts of abuse,” Dame Carol said.