Child-mother ordeal exposes lack of measures to protect children - NCPA

By Yasasmin Kaviratne

A 14-year-old girl who gave birth last week at a hospital, was raped thrice by three different men during the past one and a half years while she lived with her married older sister, two younger sisters and a mentally unstable mother, investigations have revealed.

The revelations have prompted the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) to move into protect the child-mother and her two sisters – 11 and 9 - years-old.

The NCPA has called for public assistance not only to assist these three children, but also to safeguard other children whose home fronts may not be that secure.

NCPA Chairperson Anoma Dissanayake told the Sunday Times that they needed a place where children facing difficult situations could seek refuge while a foster care system overseen by the centre was also becoming a necessity.

The 14-year-old mother and her baby would be transferred to a home for teenage mothers. The NCPA has requested the hospital not to discharge the young mother until she is mentally and physically fit to do so.

The two younger sisters are now under the protective custody of the NCPA. “The three children will receive counselling and the NCPA will monitor them closely and make sure that they get over their nightmarish childhood,” Ms. Dissanayake said.

Even though a man has come forward to marry the girl, Ms. Dissanayake said they won’t allow it as she is still a minor. “We need a place where children who face these kinds situations can stay to prevent recurrence of such incidents. A foster care system is also becoming a necessity in this country where children could get the care and attention of their foster parents until they get settled in society.

In the case of most Children’s Homes the charges are looked after until they turn 18. After that they are on their own and this is not enough to survive in today’s society,” Ms. Dissanayake emphasized.

“If this 14-year-old girl could sit for her O/L and A/L examinations and qualify to pursue higher studies, then our objectives have been fulfilled,” she said.

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