Brazil Boosts Help to Victims of Child Abuse

    Beginning in August, six more states in Brazil will provide specialized care to children and adolescents victimized by physical, psychological, and sexual violence.

    Care will be given through Brazil’s Ministry of Education’s (MEC) the School that Protects program. 1000 students will be assisted in 11 municipalities in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Espí­rito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia, and Pernambuco.

    This kind of help is already available to young people in the cities of Belém, Recife, and Fortaleza.

    The idea of the program is to identify children and adolescents who are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, offer psychological support, and involve the community and family members in the battle against this type of crime.

    The general coordinator of Educational and Complementary Activities of the MEC, Leandro da Costa Fialho, says that the participation of the community and people close to children and adolescents victimized by sexual abuse is important.

    The School that Protects program works with various partners.

    "We are working together with the health sector, to diagnose and see whether the child was abused, with the justice sector, because more forceful attitudes are called for in some cases of sexual abuse and exploitation, and with the social welfare sector, because these students need treatment, and their families need to be accompanied."

    In Fialho’s view, preventing this type of violence should begin at school. "We want the school to be concerned about this type of problem. Actions initiated at school produce positive results in this area."

    He says that it is also important to qualify teachers to identify the problem of violence.

    This year the School that Protects program has already oriented around 400 parents named by tutelary councils and public schools, in order to break the cycle of routine violence.

    The parents meet with specialists. In addition, around 700 teachers were trained to identify signs of violence in their students.

    The program operates on three fronts: training the teachers who are in daily contact with the children, establishing a protection network for the victims of violence, and orienting parents and relatives on ways to deal with the problem.

    ABr – www.radiobras.gov.br

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