Gender Gender

Violence in children can be barred with early intervention

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Children’s Corner with PANIC CHILUFYA
LAST weekend, a 20-year-old man a lost his life at drinking place in Lusaka’s Long Arces that is notorious for unruly behaviour, excessive and underage drinking.
According to Zambia Police Service acting spokesperson Danny Mwale, the young man is alleged to have picked a quarrel with his colleagues that resulted into a fight; in the process, he was stabbed in the neck with a bottle.
A Good Samaritan came to the aid of the young man and rushed him to hospital but unfortunately, on arrival he was pronounced dead. This was an unfortunate loss of life in such circumstances that could have been avoided.
As if that was not enough, a businessman in Kanyama Township was killed by a gang of youths. His only mistake was to demand for money for a packet of water valued at K1 that was taken from his shop. When the father of three forcibly grabbed the packet of water and turned back to walk into his shop, he was struck in the head and shoulder with a plank in the presence of his wife. The act resulted into the loss of life for a man who was only trying to make ends meet over a small packet of water.
These incidents are an indication of the increase of violence which has permeated all levels of society. What is worrying and sad is that young people who have not been spared by the violence; as victims or perpetrators.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that violence by young people is one of the most visible forms of violence. Fatal and non-fatal assaults involving young people have greatly contributed to premature death, injury and disability; affecting not only its victims but families, friends and communities as well.
A close link has been established between youth violence and other forms of violence in that violent young people who commit a range of crimes usually display other social and psychological behaviours.
In 2000 it was estimated that 199,000 youth murders took place globally; making this equivalent to 565 children and young people between the ages of 10-29 dying on average every day from violent acts. However, rates of youth deaths, vary considerably by region and by country, and in most cases, female rates almost everywhere are much lower when compared to those of male. And for every young person violently killed, an estimated 20- 40 receive injuries that require hospital treatment. Studies have shown that drunkenness is an important immediate situational factor that often induces violence among young people. Furthermore, a study of school-aged children in 27 countries found that the majority of 13-year-olds in most countries surveyed have engaged in bullying at some point of their life.
There are a number of factors that have a bearing on violent behaviour in young people; one of those is the home environment which plays a critical role in the development of a child. A child who is exposed to parental conflict in early childhood, harsh punishment as a form of discipline is likely to be violent just as a child who has minimal or lacks parental supervision.
For some young people, violent behaviour is a cry for emotional attachment from the parents especially for those who are born from young mothers or live through a divorce at a young age. Parental separation may lead to anger and violence. Low levels of family cohesion and low socio-economic status of the family in some cases also contribute to violent tendencies among young people. Income inequality, rapid demographic changes, and urbanisation have been acknowledged as the root of youth violence.
Other factors are social, political and cultural when young people involve themselves in gangs where they are exposed to alcohol or drugs, there is an increased likelihood of youth violence.
To protect young people from being victims or perpetrators of violence, it is imperative to improve on laws that regulate operating hours for drinking places and implementing policies that curb underage drinking and to ensure that the same laws are seriously enforced with stiff penalties for those who violate the laws or regulations.
From the home and education setting, interventions that seek to change young people’s skills, attitudes and beliefs must be initiated. These types of programmes are designed to help children and adolescents manage anger, resolve conflict and develop the necessary social skills to solve problems instead of resorting to violence all the time.
Another common prevention strategy would be to focus on early intervention with children and families by providing parents with information about child development and teaching them how to effectively discipline, monitor and supervise children without using harsh forms of punishment. Communication and compromise are better options to resolving problems as opposed to violence because in the long run, violence begets violence.
Remember, children are our future, until next week, take care.
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