|Subject: CHILD ABUSE EMERGING PROBLEM IN
EAST TIMOR, UNICEF REPORTS
CHILD ABUSE EMERGING PROBLEM IN EAST TIMOR, UNICEF REPORTS New York, Apr 25 2002 10:00AM
Child abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of youngsters in East Timor is an emerging problem requiring a coordinated response from law enforcement and community leaders, according to a study funded by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) released today.
Over a month-long period in five of East Timor's 13 districts, the Program for Psychosocial Recovery and Development in East Timor (PRADET Timor Lorosa'e) documented 103 cases of child abuse; approximately one-third of the incidents were previously unreported.
In 60 per cent of the reported cases, children were victims of sexual assault, physical violence or commercial sexual exploitation, according to the study. Eighty-five per cent of the sexual assaults were against girls, and the general trend of child abuse suggests that the majority of offenders are young males who are often a member of the family or someone known to the victim.
"Despite being only preliminary, the report paints a disturbing picture of violence and abuse of children in East Timor, " said Kristina Tang, coordinator of PRADET Timor Lorosa'e.
The study urged an integrated response from a wide variety of agencies, including police, lawyers, health and welfare professionals, teachers and local communities.
"This case study, while not yet a representative picture of the country as a whole, is an important first step to highlight the scope of the problem in East Timor," said Yoshiteru Uramoto, UNICEF's representative in East Timor. "We need to determine the magnitude of child abuse and to develop strategies to prevent future abuse." 2002-04-25 00:00:00.000
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