Photo Credit: Jorge Aguilar Unsplash
[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] The Anglican Church in Mexico has been taking a leading role in tackling child abuse across the country.
At a recent forum to mark the International day for the Prevention of Child Abuse, a priest from the Anglican Church of Mexico, said the church should never be part of concealing sexual violence against minors and more resources should be found to tackle the problem.
The forum, organised by a congresswoman Lorena Villavicencio and the Human Rights Commission of the city of Mexico (CDHDF), heard that Mexico has high levels of violence against children compared to other countries.
A UNICEF report on violence against Mexican children found some 18,000 girls had suffered family abuse in 2010, but by 2014 the number jumped to about 24,000. According to the report about one in five girls ages 15 to 17 - almost 700,000 young women - experienced some form of family violence in 2015.
An Anglican priest from the Diocese of Mexico, Diana García, who heads up the Global Network of Religions for Children (GNRC) in Mexico, works in child protection for the Anglican church.
She said: “In Mexico we´ve been working for about two years now on topics such as child sexual abuse, physical punishment and migration issues. In education we have an ethics education programme developed by Arigatou and UNICEF called ‘Learning to Live Together’ and a programme developed by World Vision called, ‘Channels of Hope’ for child abuse prevention.”
The forum’s speakers stated that the main perpetrators of sexual assault were among families, the church and the school, and that it should be considered violence, rather than abuse. The forum’s panel identified the need to train public servants and members of the judiciary. It also called for intervention in public policies and the need to transform social systems that perpetuate violence against minors.
Charities working to address children’s rights in the country, such as the ‘End Violence Fund’, are supporting projects that build the capacity of child lawyers and case workers in Mexico, working to protect children and demand specific actions from child justice institutions.
Diana García said: “This week we celebrated the Day of Prayer and Action for children. We talked about the importance of the Child Rights Convention on its 30th anniversary and about the different initiatives of the members of GNRC – Mexico.”
She hopes the ongoing work of the Anglican Church as part of the GNRC will continue to take forward the fight to prevent violence against children.