The Joining Forces Coalition has urged parents and adult relatives to adopt parenting without violence after a report revealed that they are the most common perpetrators of physical violence in childhood.
According to the 2018 National Violence Against Children Survey, parents or adult relatives were the most common perpetrators of physical violence in childhood. According to the reports, 7 in 10 boys and 6 in 10 girls in Uganda have experienced physical violence in their childhood. This means that more than half of all children in Uganda have experienced physical abuse. Unfortunately, children most commonly do not seek help because they think it is their fault or do not even understand that physical violence is a problem.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and two-year school closure in Uganda, cases of violence against children, especially physical violence – including beating and strangling- increased nationwide. This year alone, Uganda Child Helpline, Sauti116, received a daily average of 40 ‘child abuse’ cases out of 1775 cases reported.
This made the ‘Hands4Good’ campaign timely, relevant and crucial, working directly with families to end violence in homes and create better relationships between children, parents and caregivers, calling for a behaviour change to reduce violence against children. The campaign urged all parents and caregivers to use their hands to nurture, support, and guide children instead of using them for violence and inflicting pain. The campaign collaborated with community champions who supported their communities in the six districts to work towards ending physical violence, identifying children at risk of physical violence, and ensuring that these children access services that will provide the support they need.
A nine months ‘Hand4Good’ social, behavioural change campaign by Joining Forces, a consortium of six child rights organisations, that ends today was officially launched in March 2022. The campaign, which focused on six districts of Gulu, Obongi, Kampala, Wakiso, Busia, and Bugiri, aimed at reducing physical violence against children. With support from the European Union, the nine-month multimedia campaign targeted parents and caregivers through the Parenting Without Violence approach and enabled them to adopt non-violent parenting methods.
The Hands4Good campaign through nationwide media campaigns reached 2.5 million people through social media, and 9,684 children and parents participated in the Parenting Without Violence awareness sessions. The campaign empowered children and parents to understand what violence is and how to work collectively to reduce the levels of physical violence and increase reporting of violence against children.
A crucial part of the Joining Forces for Africa project funded by the European Union and the Hands4Good campaign is improving families’ capacity to respond to violence against children. This means having families that know what violence against children is. The project and campaign use a behavioural change approach called Parenting Without Violence.
We must all remember that physical violence starts with us, with our hands. The same hand we use to hug, bless people, and build society, should not be the same hand that causes pain, hurt, and harm to anyone, especially children. We should all use our hands for good at all times.
Joining Forces appreciates the support of the European Union, and the Government of Uganda, for their continued dedicated efforts to protect children, the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, leaders at all levels, and everyone taking a step towards this shared goal of ending violence against children.