Indonesian children celebrate National Children's Day on July 23 in an activity held online because of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Ministry)
More than half of Indonesia’s almost 80 million children have been the target of verbal and physical abuse by their parents during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a recently released government report.
At least 50 million were subjected to such abuse, said Women’s Empowerment and Child Protection Minister I Gusti Bintang Ayu Puspayoga, whose ministry compiled the report.
“It goes without saying that parents, families and society should respect and ensure children’s rights,” the minister she said in a speech on July 23 to mark National Children’s Day.
“Any form of discrimination and violence [against children] seriously impacts their mental health.”
Beating and excessive scolding which parents claim are ways of teaching children are unacceptable, she said. “Such practices must be stopped,” she added.
Arist Merdeka Sirait, chairman of the National Commission on Child Protection, said the Covid-19 pandemic has created added pressure on families, but that was no excuse to treat children badly.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many parents to lose their jobsm resulting in no income to support their families. But this should not be a reason to get violent with children. Unfortunately children are often seen as an easy target to vent their frustration on,” Sirait told UCA News.
He said the new school year started on July 13 but the government has ordered schools to conduct distance learning, which means that such abuse will likely continue.