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Reading: Strengthening the “Multidisciplinary Child Protection Committees” in the community

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Strengthening the “Multidisciplinary Child Protection Committees” in the community

Authors:

Y. Thivaharan ,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About Y.
Postgraduate Trainee, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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W. N. S. Perera,

University of Kelaniya, LK
About W. N. S.
Senior Lecturer and Specialist in Forensic Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
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T. Muthulingam

Colombo North Teaching Hospital, Ragama, LK
About T.
Postgraduate Trainee, Office of Judicial Medical Officer
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Abstract

Introduction: Child abuse and neglect have been widespread since time immemorial. It is not only detrimental to the affected child, but families, societies and cultures as well.

 

Although the exact prevalence of child abuse is not known in Sri Lanka, reported literature shows that it is a significant problem and the available statistical data on the prevalence of child abuse, is only the tip of the iceberg.

 

Case Reports: Three case reports are elaborated and its forensic clinical examination findings are discussed along with the medico-legal value of each case. These highlight the importance of empowerment with proper statutory amendments, educating the judiciary about practical background of these abuses by clinical forensic practitioners with sufficient practical experience and strengthening of the “Multidisciplinary child protection committees” for early detection of child abuse within the community.

 

Discussion: We suggest making the best use of the existing ‘praja’ committees, as first responders to recognize ‘high risk’ children within their community and reporting to a central authority such as National Child Protection Authority NCPA. Incorporating details of ‘high risk’ children into an electronic database would enhance easy reference, and electronic data linked to the ‘1929’ child-line would ensure a better outcome. Confidentiality should be maintained at all times. ‘High risk’ children and their families should be visited by the Child Rights Protection Officers on a regular basis and immediate action should be taken if any form of abuse is suspected. Representatives from schools attended to by ‘high risk’ children and the ‘Gramaseva Niladhari’ should be part of these committees. It is also necessary to register all families who have a single parent, with parents working abroad, involved in civil or criminal court cases, with psychiatric illness/addictions with the Grama Niladhari, police and local probation and childcare office.

 

Conclusion: “Multidisciplinary Child Protection Committees” should be strengthened in the community under the supervision of the NCPA using existing facilities and with the participation of multi-sectorial stake holders. This will help in early detection of child abuse and community monitoring of high-risk children.
How to Cite: Thivaharan, Y., Perera, W.N.S. and Muthulingam, T., 2021. Strengthening the “Multidisciplinary Child Protection Committees” in the community. Sri Lanka Journal of Forensic Medicine, Science & Law, 12(2), pp.31–35. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljfmsl.v12i2.7878
Published on 03 Dec 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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