Unpleasant Facts

Sri Lanka’s national child protection agency reports 409 cases of child abuse in 2004 but says this is only tip of the iceberg. Sri Lanka’s national child protection agency reports 409 cases of child abuse in 2004 but says this is only tip of the iceberg. “We get complaints of child abuse but what we get is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg,” said Chairperson of the national child Protection Authority (NCPA), Hiranthi Wijemanne, on Tuesday, at the launch of the Sinhala and Tamil translations of the UNICEF State of the World’s Children report 2006.

Although awareness is increasing, reporting child abuse is still particularly low, when the abuser is a figure of authority and trust.

“It is totally unacceptable that people that children are taught to trust can abuse them,” says Wijemanne.

“It is very difficult for us even to investigate when family members, teachers and priests of all denominations, who are protected by their uniform, do this,” says Wijemanne.

The NCPA did not give details of child abuse by religious personnel but had recorded 260 cases of sexual abuse in total by various parties.
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