The Episcopal Conference of Malawi, on 12th November, 2015 launched the Child Protection Policy. During the launching ceremony, His Grace Thomas Msusa, pointed out that the policy aimed at creating awareness and empowerment of people at grass root level to undertake development that is sensitive to children’s welfare in order to make sure that children are protected in all spheres of life. It also aimed at providing, direction for the clergy and the laity on issues related to child abuse and their protection. In essence the policy looked at child care, justice, protection, dignity and rights of children in accordance with Gospel values. It recognized different forms of child abuse persisting in Malawi which include sexual, physical, emotional, neglect, negligence and child labour.
He said, through the policy, the church was set to advance Child protection issues in all its institutions, by ensuring that Church activities become sensitive to child protection in fulfillment of Christ’s Evangelisation mission of justice and love. The Church also invited the Government of Malawi and other cooperate partners to prioritise programmes and activities aimed at safeguarding children.
The Bishop further encouraged authorities to be proactive in taking swift action in reporting issues related to child abuse. While rejecting and denouncing the evil, social morals that perpetuate violence, abuse and moral decadence, he encouraged Malawians to uphold all positive cultures that present a brighter future for the children. Finally, he made a plea to all entities of the Church and people of goodwill to embrace this policy in all their endeavours.
The Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social welfare, Hounourable Patricia Kaliati, thanked the Catholic Church for being on the lead in complementing Government efforts in dealing with issues of Child protection. She also pointed out that, the policy would bring awareness to people on the rights of children and the consequences which would follow to offenders.
This policy came after sexual abuse of children and minors rocked the Catholic Church in the world including Malawi. According to the statistics of 2013, released by the Ministry of Gender; Children, Disability and Social Welfare on the study of violence against children and women, half of Malawians aged 18 to 24 and one third of children aged 13 to 17 reported having witnessed domestic violence in the home.