Colombo (LNW): Many social problems have arisen due to the exposure of child victims and the child accused, through the media and therefore immediate measures should be taken to prevent it, emphasised Chair of the Parliamentary Caucus for Children MP Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, speaking at the Caucus recently (24).
The Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment and its affiliates such as the Department of Probation and Child Care Services, the National Child Protection Authority and the Ministry of Mass Media and the institutions operating under it and the Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation, Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation, Independent Television Network Ltd, Lake House and Government Information Department were also called before the caucus.
It was pointed out by the Members of Parliament that the exposure of the identities of children through the media, especially in cases of child molestation and child abuse, has a great impact on the lives of the children concerned.
Officials of the state media indicated that their agencies follow a standard when disseminating news related to children. Accordingly, the Caucus membership agreed that all media organisations should be called for the next meeting to discuss this further.
Apart from the said, there was a long discussion about the measures that can be taken to improve the condition of children in orphanages in Sri Lanka. Maintenance of relevant institutions even according to minimum standards, shortage of child care staff, inadequate hygiene in these places, provision of adequate psycho-social treatment to children, socialisation process of children in orphanages when they reach the age of 18, children in orphanages There was a long discussion about the measures to be taken for safety and proper supervision of children’s homes.
The officials pointed out that the Geneva Committee on Children’s Rights has given recommendations regarding orphanages in Sri Lanka and there are many issues such as shortage of trained staff, allocation of adequate provision for the Department of Child Care Services etc.
The importance of providing vocational training to children in orphanages was discussed at length, and the need for a suitable program to socialise children over 18 years of age and the importance of creating an environment for them to engage in self-employment was also emphasised.
In addition to that, introducing a foster parent system, placing children in the care of relatives, local adoptions, etc. were also discussed in the forum as alternative care proposals for children.
Furthermore, attention was paid to matters such as referring child suspects to the conciliation board for minor offenses, subjecting them to other alternative punishments, and using institutional reform as the last option.
Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa, State Minister Diana Gamage, MPs Eran Wickramaratne, Mayantha Dissanayake, and Secretary to the Caucus and Secretary General of Parliament Kushani Rohanadeera, were present at the Committee meeting.