The United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) says it is adopting a comprehensive approach to curtail the menace of violence against children in Nigeria.

UNICEF Child Protection Specialist, Dr Olasunbo Odebode, announced the plan in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city, on Saturday, which is this year’s Children’s Day.

“Child protection and SDGs: Issues and opportunities” is the theme of this year’s event and she says violence against children is any form of abuse; it may be physical, emotional or anything that constitute an attack on the children.

She identified some violence against children to include sexual and all forms of abuses, exploitation, child labour, trafficking, neglect and slavery, among others.

“UNICEF is after children protection system strengthening approach which is all encompassing rather than taking them in silo or addressing them one after the other,” she told the News Agency of Nigeria.

The expert, who described violence as multifaceted, however, said that addressing the menace in the society and ensured perpetrators were brought to book required multi-sectoral approach and efforts.

The rate of molestation, sexual abuses, assault, among other vices against children is increasing in Nigeria, with several court cases bordering on child sexual assault and Odebode underscored the need for all hands to be on deck to address the scourge.

“We cannot fold our hands and allow the future of our children and the society to be ruined by the wicked ones.

“Any child that is been violated in whatever form, if not addressed adequately, would in a long way affect the child physically, emotional, morally, psychologically and otherwise all through life.

“In Nigeria, children are faced with a lot of challenges whether in health, education, poverty, security or protection.

“In this regard curtailing the menace of violence against children in the society required multi-sectoral efforts or response,” she stressed.

According to her some of the mechanisms that UNICEF had put in place across the federation are capacity building of Judges, teachers, Police, traditional and religious leaders, social welfare, changing the perception of what constitute violence, among others.

“The capacity building was to acquaint them with what constitute violence and ensure that when the child is confronted with any form they will know what to do to effectively address the cases.

“What we are after is child protection system strengthening approach; this means an encompassing strategy including prevention and response, not that we will wait till violence occurs before we act,” she added.