Ironic, The Story of KB and her Father: Violence during The Pandemic.
Nowadays, newspaper headlines may tickle the public’s mind. In addition, the occurrence series of events that eliminate children’s rights, ironically violence against children is committed by their biological parents. A 5 (five) years old girl (initials, KB) became a victim of abuse by her biological father on May 20, 2021, North Serpong, South Tangerang. It’s sad knowing that the child has been abused by her father since March 2021. The reason is, both KB’s parents have divorced, and he lives with his father while his mother works as a female migrant worker in Malaysia. This tragic case is a red note for child protection endeavours in Indonesia.
Ipda Tita Puspita, a policewoman assigned to take care of KB, told about her post-condition after abuse that happened to her. The torture caused her a headache, left terrible memories of the violence she experienced, the fear of her father finding her again and the trauma she experienced makes her reluctant to be called by her own name. However, KB said that she had forgiven her father and still remembered the good memories she had with her father. Ipda Tita’s story inserts a new insight that even a trauma left on a child’s heart does not erase their affection for the parents who gave birth to them. Ipda Tita and other police officers currently replace KB parents’ roles, giving her a complete sense of security and love.
Starting from KB’s family story, violence against children by biological parents is one of the most vulnerable events to occur, especially in times of crisis due to the pandemic. Violence against children is defined as an act against a child that results in physical, psychological, sexual suffering, and/or abandonment, including threats to commit acts, coercion, or unlawful deprivation of liberty. Deputy Assistant to Child Protection from Violence and Exploitation Valentina Gintings revealed that based on PPA SIMFONI data, from January 1 to June 19, 2020, there were 3,087 cases of violence against children, including 852 physical violence, 768 psychological, and 1,848 cases of sexual violence, which this number increased significantly during the pandemic.
The factors such as restrictions on movement, loss of income, isolation, and population density during this pandemic cause increased stress and anxiety levels in parents, caregivers, and children. Consequently, this has changed the prevalence and patterns of interpersonal violence so that children are more at risk of experiencing and witnessing domestic violence. Violence against children can have various long-term consequences, including mental health disorders, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and substance/drug abuse. This impact must be prevented with all efforts, even during a pandemic.
Foster Parent: Filling the Nurturing Parent (Asah, Asih, Asuh) Emptiness during a Pandemic
One of the efforts to prevent violence against children is through strengthening the role of the family. Families, especially parents, have an important role in the growth and protection of children. The obligations of parents to children are mandated by Article 26 paragraph (1) of Law no. 23 of 2002 concerning Child Protection which states that parents are obliged to love, care for, educate and protect children, develop children according to their abilities, talents and interests and prevent early marriage. However, if this is not achieved, the child may be under the care of their adoptive parents. Article 7 paragraph (2) of Law no. 23 of 2002 regulates child care: for some reason, the parents cannot guarantee the child’s growth and development, or the child is abandoned, the child has the right to be cared for or appointed as a foster child or adopted child by another person in accordance with applicable regulations.
In short, a Foster parent is expected to have the ability to carry out his obligations as a parent to meet the needs and guarantee the protection of the rights of abandoned children. Reflecting on the cases of KB and Ipda Tita previously, the presence of foster parents is an urgent need for children who have the potential to lose their biological parents’ care due to domestic violence, economic hardship, mental and physical health problems, and so on. Foster parents are expected to replace the role of biological parents in foster care implementation, especially in times of crisis due to this pandemic.
In fact, empowerment of foster parents reflects one of the seven strategies campaigns by WHO with other organizations to eliminate violence against children, known as INSPIRE (Implementation and Enforcement of Laws, Norms and Values, Safe Environments, Parent and Caregiver Support, Income and Economic Strengthening, Response and Support Services, Education and Life Skills). One of INSPIRE’s strategies lies in the letter R, namely Response and Support Services, where the approach used is alternative parenting interventions for children.
In line with the global agenda, the Government of Indonesia, through the Ministry of Social Affairs, also gave a positive response to empower foster parents through the issuance of legal instruments, namely the Regulation of the Minister of Social Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia No. 1 of 2020 concerning Implementing Regulations of Government Regulation Number 44 of 2017 concerning the Implementation of Child Care (Permensos No. 1/2020). Minister of Social Affairs No. 1/2020 is proof of the Government’s seriousness in protecting the future of Indonesian children through strengthening the role of foster parents, especially its legality. The presence of this new legal instrument is a breath of fresh air amid a pandemic.
Stories about KB and other children who have been victims of violence by their biological parents during the pandemic should open everyone’s eyes to the importance of the role of parents during a crisis in protecting children’s development. When the biological parents are no longer able to carry out their role, the child has the right to complete protection and care through the presence of foster parents. Hopefully, the empowerment of foster parents, supported by the Government and child protection activists, can overcome the crisis of children’s future during a pandemic.
Penulis: Patricia Cindy
Penyunting: Rheka Rizqiah Ramadhani
Penerjemah: Hasna Fatina
Pugh, Gillian dan Erica DeAth. The Needs of Parents: Practice and Policy in Parent Education. London: National Childrens Bureau, 1984.
Thomas, E. Y., Anurudran, A., Robb, K., &Burke, T. F. Spotlight on child abuse and neglect response in the time of COVID-19. The Lancet Public Health, Vol. 5, July 2020.
World Health Organization. Executive Summary: Global Status Report on Preventing Violence against Children 2020. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2020.
Republik Indonesia. Undang-Undang Nomor 35 Tahun 2014 tentang Perubahan atas Undang-Undang Nomor 23 Tahun 2002 tentang Perlindungan Anak. Lembaran Negara Tahun 2014 No. 297. Sekretariat Negara. Jakarta.
Republik Indonesia. Peraturan Menteri Sosial Nomor 1 Tahun 2020 tentang Peraturan Pelaksanaan Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 44 Tahun 2017 tentang Pelaksanaan Pengasuhan Anak. Berita Negara RI Tahun 2020, No. 104. Sekretariat Negara. Jakarta.