Beginning next month, Brazil’s Ministry of Social Development and Hunger Alleviation’s Sentinel Program to Confront Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Children and Adolescents plans to triple the number of municipalities covered by the program.
According to the coordinator of the service, Maura de Souza, the Sentinel Program will reach around a thousand municipalities. Since 2001, 314 municipalities from all over the country have been participating in the program.
De Souza informed that around 90% of the cases involve sexual abuse, committed in most cases by members of the family or individuals already known by the victims. Then come the cases of sexual exploitation and mistreatment, including physical violence.
According to the coordinator, the implantation of the program in a municipality serves to “give visibility to the problem,” since the number of complaints directed to the service has grown progressively.
The program has already assisted around 100 thousand individuals, both the adolescent and child victims and family members, through psycho-social and legal accompaniment.
De Souza went on to say that, for the program to function, reporting mistreatment of children and adolescents is essential. Cases can be reported to the tutelary councils, the toll-free, anonymous complaint numbers, or directly to the Sentinel unit in the municipality.