Violence against children rampant at home during COVID-19, survey shows

Many children have experienced physical or psychological abuse at home during the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Child Protection Agency (KPAI).

During the 30th anniversary of the Indonesian government’s ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, KPAI chairman Susanto said the survey had shed light on the state of child protection in the country.

“We conducted the survey in all 34 provinces where cases were found, the percentage of which, I think, should become something for us to reflect on,” he said at a virtual event on Thursday as quoted by kompas.com.

The national survey was conducted online with a sample size of 25,164 child respondents who were asked to fill out a questionnaire distributed through social media.

The survey found that some Indonesian children had experienced physical violence, with 3 percent saying they had been slapped, while 4 percent had been locked up, 4 percent had been kicked, 6 percent had been pushed, 9 percent had their ears pulled, 10 percent had been beaten and 23 percent had been pinched.

In addition, some children have experienced psychological abuse. Fifty-six percent of respondents said they had been scolded, 34 percent had been being compared to other children and 23 percent had been yelled at.

Moreover, 13 percent of the children said they had been glared at, 5 percent had been insulted, 4 percent had been threatened, 4 percent had been humiliated, 3 percent had been bullied and 2 percent had been kicked out of the house.

“So of course it is not a surprise that a number of reports said there were cases of children being beaten to death,” said Susanto.

Susanto explained that in many of these cases there were no specific trigger factors that led to the violence, apart from the stress caused by the pandemic.

“In this COVID-19 situation, caregivers have had many problems. On one hand, they have to think about their financial situation. On the other hand, they have to accompany the children during online studies,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s easy, especially when it comes to online learning, where it is not only a matter of [technological competence] but also a matter of the capacity for caregivers to assist the children.”

Ineptitude and mental unpreparedness among parents, guardians and caregivers in providing educational assistance were among the basic triggers for violence against children, Susanto added.

He called on community members to reflect on their behavior to prevent such violence from recurring. (syk)

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