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Stop child abuse now – Netizens can play a role

NEWS RELEASE
Get on Board - Stop child abuse now!
Internet and social media vital tools to spread information and strengthen protection for children

KUALA LUMPUR, 24 November 2010 – The call for Malaysians to unite against child abuse took a digital turn early last month with the launch of a ‘Get on Board’ campaign by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

This two-month initiative is intended to drive home the message of child protection with a rallying call to action: ‘Raise your hand. Stop child abuse now!’ and aims to unite thousands of Malaysians in time for the finale on Human Rights Day in December.

“Today’s Internet-savvy society can easily look things up on the World Wide Web and we have created a one-stop resource centre online – www.uniteagainstabuse.my – as part of the ‘Get on Board’ campaign,” said UNICEF Representative to Malaysia, Hans Olsen, in a forum on the impact and role of the Internet and social media on child protection held today at Wisma UN in Kuala Lumpur.

“UNICEF believes that child abuse can be stopped if people are empowered with the right knowledge, information and community support,” he added.

Raise your digital hand

The website provides knowledge, insights, advice and resources to engage, educate and empower adults and young people to protect children from abuse. Visitors can sign up to show their digital hand of support for the campaign and can also create their own unique ‘Hand’ symbol to be used as a Facebook profile picture or on other social media in a show of solidarity across the country.

Also speaking at the forum were Nicholas Chay of Nomnom-media.com, and blogger Rosmini who is also known as Little Mama in the Malaysian mothers blogging community, MomBloggersPlanet.com.

Every child has a right to grow up in a safe and protected environment and Mr Olsen urges Malaysians to learn more about child abuse and what can be done to protect children on an individual and community level.

“We need to raise public awareness of the devastating effects of child abuse, and we believe the Internet and the viral aspect of social media are vital tools in reaching out to the public and letting them share the knowledge they’ve gained with others,” he said.

Mom bloggers unite

Little Mama concurs that knowledge is key and believes the ‘Get on Board campaign’ provides all the information needed for people to learn more about child abuse and what to do about it.

“Mummy bloggers share almost everything in our blog – from parenting, breastfeeding, early childhood education, home school, caring for special needs child, healthy child food, and general issues,” she expounds.

“We must protect our children and must know how to do so. MomBloggersPlanet.com strongly supports the ‘Get on Board’ campaign and we hope that the message of child protection will spread through the blogging community,” added Little Mama.

Campaigning with social media

The Social Welfare Department statistics have revealed a rise in the number of children reported being abused. This, however, does not tell the true story about child abuse in the country.

According to Mr Olsen, statistics alone do now reveal enough about the extent of abuse in a population, the severity of abuse over time or why abuse is occurring, hence the need for public support for action to better understand the extent of abusive behaviour in Malaysia and the reasons behind it. This will help the Government design evidence-based interventions to protect children from abuse and ensure them a safe and healthy childhood.

“We hope that the ‘Get on Board’ website will inspire people to spread the word and say "stop!" to child abuse through blogs and other social networking sites,” Mr Olsen appealed. “Small positive actions can make a big difference in the life of a child – even if it’s just a Tweet or a Facebook update!”

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NOTE TO EDITOR:

GET ON BOARD CAMPAIGN
The 'Get on Board' Campaign is a two-month initiative by UNICEF and its partners to provide the Malaysian public with a platform to learn and respond to child abuse in the country. The digitally-driven Campaign, a first by UNICEF in the region, aims to strengthen public understanding of child abuse and neglect by providing information on the types of abuse, why it could happen and how to recognise symptoms in an abused child. It also hopes to empower the public to act on behalf of children by equipping them with protection solutions, parenting tips, action ideas and a directory of important resources. The Campaign will host a special “public” program on 20 November in conjunction with Universal Children’s Day and culminate on 10 December. Get on Board.

For more information, please contact:

Indra Kumari Nadchatram
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel +6012 292 6872, inadchatram@unicef.org

Juana Jaafar
UNICEF Media Malaysia
Tel + 6012 530 9693, jjmanap@unicef.org

 

 

 

 

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