In the National Assembly |24 May 2023
‘Child protection is everyone’s civic duty’ – Minister Francourt
The Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt, has said that child protection is everyone’s civic duty and every individual should ensure the safety of all children.
She also said as a country we should find all ways and means to support children and families who go through any form of abuse.
She was speaking in the National Assembly yesterday morning, when answering a Private Notice question (PNQ) brought by the leader of the opposition, Hon. Sebastien Pillay, who wanted to know if the Social Affairs department and the Child Protection Unit within the police department were encountering any difficulties when taking actions against child abuse cases.
Minister Francourt explained that the Social Affairs division within the Social Services department has the legal mandate to act when a case is reported to them and that the Child Protection Unit of the Social Services works closely with the Child Protection Unit within the police department to respond to allegations of abuse cases.
“The Social Affairs department work as a team with other partners, namely education, health, the National Council for Children in cases involving children,” explained the minister, adding that they then come up with a care plan which highlights each agency’s role to support the child and their family.
She explained that the procedures to attend to an abuse case goes well when there is parents’ consent and support but this is different when parents are non-cooperative.
“The difficulty is also when the parent is the offender against the child,” she said, adding that unfortunately during abuse cases, some partners prefer to protect the abusers, who in that case is their partner or a family member.
“They find excuses stating the child is lying or refusing to consent or cooperate,” said Minister Francourt.
She added that another difficulty was when parents do not respect agreements made for their child’s wellbeing.
“Parents who are not in contact with social workers to update them on any issues they face or incidents that happen in between their next appointment,” she said.
The minister added that in some instances the cases are not being followed closely, because the social worker could be occupied with other cases.
“But this does not mean they are neglecting their work because it also depends on the parents and other family members to do their bit,” said the minister.
“We all have a civic duty and duty of care to look into a child’s wellbeing and ensure all our children are always safe. That is primordial,” said Minister Francourt, adding that every time a child suffers any form of abuse, her ministry is saddened along with all their other partners.
“I want to appeal to everyone, family, individuals in the community, individuals working with institutions, let us all be more vigilant when a child comes before us under circumstances that make us question their wellbeing,” concluded the minister, while urging the National Assembly to help them in their effort to protect all children of Seychelles.