Communications strategies used to address the problem of Child defilement: A case study of the operations of the Department of Child development in Chisanga Village of Kasama District

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Motion, Milambo
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The study investigated the communication strategies used to address the problem of child defilement: A case study of the operations of the Department of Child Development in Chisanga village of Kasama District. Despite harsh penalties or sentences imposed upon all convicted child defilers which range from a minimum of 14 years to the maximum of life sentence, more children continue to be defiled. This implies that the environment in which children are growing up is no longer safe. The other source of concern is that so many sensitisation campaigns against child defilement have been conducted. However, it appears that these are not yielding positive results as evidenced by the marked increase in the number of reported defilement cases since 2000. This could be attributed to ineffective communication strategies that are in place to sensitise the general public against this vice. It may also imply that the messages being disseminated are not effective enough and that they could be targeted at wrong persons. The general objective of the research was to assess the communication strategies used by the Department of Child Development to address the problem of child defilement in Chisanga village. The specific objectives were to examine the communication strategies the department used to disseminate messages to the public; to determine what messages on child defilement the department communicated to Chisanga village; to assess whether the residents of Chisanga village knew that child defilement was a crime; to establish reasons why people in Chisanga village defiled children; to find out how residents of Chisanga village perceived child defilers and to find out which media forms Chisanga residents had access to for information acquisition. The research design used in this study was a case study. Purposive sampling and Convenience sampling were used to collect data from Ministry of Gender and Child Development staff, stakeholders and respondents respectively. Both primary and secondary data was collected. Primary data was collected using participant observation, questionnaires, research interview guides administered to key informants. Secondary data was collected from previous research, text books, internet and field reports. Data was analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Scientists (SPSS). The major findings of the study were that the Department of Child Development had very poor communication strategies marked by heavy usage of a local community radio station which was apparently not accessible by everyone. The messages disseminated were also rare and inadequate to foster attitude change. It is hoped that through this study the department would begin to craft better communication strategies that would bring about positive behavioural change.
Child Sexual Abuse-Zambia