Victim Friendly Unit Officers trained in Online Safety
By Ruvimbo Shiri
In an effort to have members of the police force from the Victim Friendly Unit understand the Online Safety for Children project and the role of the police in the project, Save the Children and its partner the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), organised a three-day training for police officers from the Victim Friendly Unit (VFU) on Online Sexual Abuse and Exploitation at Morris Depot.
The training which started on the 11th of July was aimed at giving the ZRP VFU a full understanding of the programme, raise awareness and increase police officers knowledge about online safety for children. The training focused on online child sexual abuse and exploitation. The ZRP’s Victim Friendly Unit is the key department which deals with crimes against children which include sexual crimes, and online abuse of children is among their priority crime areas.
In his presentation at the workshop, the INTERPOL National Central Bureau representative Constable Munjeri said INTERPOL has quite a number of priority crime areas that it works on and one of the areas that is crucial and relevant to this training is that of cyber-crimes which include online child sexual abuse.
“We encourage every police officer to contact us directly when they are handling a case to do with online sexual abuse. We will do all it takes to trace every offender of online sexual abuse and everyone should know that our work is borderless.” says Constable Munjeri from INTERPOL National Central Bureau. He added that parents and guardians must talk to their children regularly about what they do online and encourage safe habits as they use the internet.
Superintendent J. Banda who was also a facilitator at the training said internet plays an important part in a child’s learning. “The world has now been taken over by technology and this technology is to some extent not so good for the children. Children will fall victim to this technology if not guided. Therefore children must be protected by all means,” added Superintendent Banda.
Save the Children’s Child Protection department embarked on the programme in 2016 to educate children and their parents/guardians about online safety. They have been raising awareness, training partners (like ZRP VFU, parents/guardians and teachers) and advocating for children’s online safety.