Lesotho: MOSD Minister Condemns Acts of Sexual Abuse
The ministry observes a dire need to advocate for the inclusion of Protection Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) policy in Civil Service
The Ministry has a pivotal mandate of effectively empowering the families, institutions and communities to protect, care and support the vulnerable groups
The Acting Minister of Social Development, Mr Keketso Sello says the ministry strongly condemns the acts of the senior officer who did not only contravene the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 but also Section 44 of CPWA of 2011.
In his statement, Mr. Sello confirmed that the former Manager Rehabilitation Officer in the Department of Disability Services has been sentenced to 15 years imprisonment without an option of a fine; after being found guilty of sexually abusing an 11 years old girl who is a relative and was under his care.
Therefore, the ministry observes a dire need to advocate for the inclusion of Protection Against Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) policy in Civil Service therefore the ministry will liaise with the Ministry of Public Service in order to address this gap in civil servants.
He stressed that the Ministry has a pivotal mandate of effectively empowering the families, institutions and communities to protect, care and support the vulnerable groups, saying the ministry among other things is entrusted to take a leading role in child protection hence zero tolerance to all forms of abuse including sexual exploitation and abuse.
He noted that the ministry committedly supports the victim based on section 23 of Children’s Protection Welfare Act (CPWA) 2011, noting from the beginning of the case, the Ministry has been involved in the case to see to it that the child is protected.
Mr. Sello said a social worker was assigned to the child for the provision of psycho-social support throughout the trial and facilitated her placement into the place of safety, adding that the social worker continues to provide the support including trauma and grief counselling until the child is safely reintegrated into the community environment.
Commenting on the matter, Man Up Lesotho (a non-government organisation) condemned this inhuman act.
In their statement, Man Up Lesotho expressed hope that the 15 years imprisonment judgement is will send a strong message to men and boys that they need to abstain from these acts and strive to live a dignified life befitting men as responsible citizens who uphold principles of humanity and rule of law.
UNICEF Lesotho also issues a statement expressing a shock over this incident, stating that it is shocking to have someone entrusted to provide support to children be engaged in abusing a girl child in his care.
The statement states that sexual violence remains highly underreported, particularly those living under disabilities.
UNICEF, therefore, commended the Ministry of Social Development for extending support to the victim through the Lesotho Child Counselling Unit, where she is Psychological wounds of such a repulsive act of violence will take time to heal.
This 58-year-old Manager Rehabilitation Officer in the Department of Disability Services of the Ministry of Social Development contravened the Sexual Offences Act of 2003 and Section 44 of the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2011.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Government of Lesotho.