CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PROJECT (CSA)

THE CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE (CSA) PROJECT

CONTACT offers comprehensive care to sexually abused children, and their families or caregivers in a holistic manner. The project was launched in 2007 after having realized its need.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  • Minimize the effects of sexual abuse on children and their families/caregivers and contribute towards its prevention.

Services offered

  • Professional Counselling to sexually abused children and their caregivers.
  • Help to access appropriate medical care.
  • Support through Police and court procedures.
  • Social support in different areas of need

We aim to:

  • Raise awareness about Child Sexual Abuse.
  • Empower stakeholders through training to effectively handle Child Abuse cases.
  • To complement services offered by Gvt. Ministries and other service providers

SERVICES OFFERED BY THE PROJECT

  • Quality counselling services for the victims of Child Sexual Abuse and all those affected.
  • Support in interaction with the police and the legal system

Support given to attain quality medical care includes:-

  • Initial examination for legal purposes.
  • Prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
  • Post – exposure prophylaxis of HIV infection.

Social care includes:-

  • Encouragement and support to continue with education.
  • Seeking shelter/safe environment if need be.
  • Offering any other interventions that would minimize the impact of the abuse.
  • Awareness through dissemination of information.

 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE PROJECT BACKGROUND

Over the years we have come across the acute problem of child sexual abuse cases and the limited services available for the effective management of such cases. Since November 2005, with the assistance of the Swiss Embassy we undertook a study in the Bulawayo area to “establish at which junctures the present system does not function in the best interest of the victims, thus identifying when and how input into this system is needed so as to serve the needs of sexually abused children in a professionally satisfactory and comprehensive way”. (read more)

The findings of this study show that although the system in Zimbabwe is well structured in theory (with proper legislation and establishment of victim friendly services), there is a collapse of these structures either because of the brain drain (very few social workers are still working in the social services departments) or extremely limited resources (especially in transport facilities and social support). There are some steps that need to be taken in the case of rape that refer to a number of procedures and services that have to do with the police, hospitals, legal system and welfare departments. Within this context we saw that although there are several organisations that include child sexual abuse as part of their work and their interests there has been no organisation that follows closely the cases in a comprehensive manner that caters for all the aspects of the problem, namely the legal, medical and psychosocial. In addition many cases have material needs unmet and live in total destitution that can perpetuate the problem when sex can be used as a means of survival.

In addition it is our strong belief that protection of children from sexual abuse is a fundamental human/child right and it is imperative that such right must be safeguarded through both direct services to the victims and public awareness on the issue.

It is well known that child sexual abuse cases are increasing daily in Zimbabwe. During our six month study on the effective management of such cases we found that although there is a well-structured system put in place, there are certain constraints that do not make these services fully utilized by the victims of sexual abuse. In most cases the victims are not capable of pursuing their cases through the judiciary system or have access to other facilities i.e. post exposure prophylaxis, due to lack of appropriate knowledge and/or lack of resources (even for transport fares). There is need to support the victim and the other stakeholders involved such as the family, school etc. to make use of the existing system by escorting them to the medical, legal and other procedures. There is a need to coordinate and sometimes lead the victims from one service to the other and finally help them to make a viable plan for their future.

CONTACT offers a comprehensive, personalized service that caters for all the above issues.