In the first half of 2021 (as well as for the whole of 2020 starting from April), the assistance of children and adolescents who have suffered sexual abuse was carried out remotely (online - via internet) through the GoogleMeet platform. Each child's family received credit help for their phone so that they could access the Internet. The challenges were numerous, considering that having privacy spaces for children / teenagers to listen to in their small homes was almost impossible. However, respecting the conditions of the families, we tried to adapt a listening and care protocol that would favor our therapeutic work. Due to the need for continuity and more personalized attention, several children / teenagers (between 10 and 12 years old) have continued face-to-face care for this second half of 2021.
We are already back with face-to-face care considering that at the moment the number of Covid-19 cases is under control. Schools have also returned to lectures. We are serving a new group of 26 children and adolescents, of these, only 1 boy. As a result of the pandemic, mental health problems have tripled and around 90% of sexually abused children and adolescents in this group have already thought about and attempted to commit suicide. Many of them show symptoms of anxiety attacks, depression and self-harm by cutting their arms. We have an audience of children and adolescents who suffer the most in care, which is why we have chosen to serve fewer children this semester.
“Cáritas Arquidiocesana” has hired a lawyer to better guide and monitor cases in court, since many are not followed up, creating a feeling of injustice and helplessness for the victims. We have highlighted the cases considered to be the most emblematic and difficult, where the conditions of vulnerability of children and adolescents are greater and the risks to life and continuity of sexual abuse occur, it is very real. We have chosen to pay attention to 16 cases followed in court, in the last three years of treatment, but we do not neglect the follow-up of others
We are facing many economic difficulties due to the sad political-social-economic reality that Brazil is experiencing. Inflation has reached alarming rates, as have water, electricity, gas, food and transport bills. Unemployment has reached 15%, although other experts say the number is higher. To carry out the Project we already have difficulties in contributing with the psychologists' check, in buying food (snacks for the children), in helping to transport families who cannot even afford buses. Despite this, with some of the resources still in 2020, we were able to do some repairs in the nursing room for children / teenagers, as termites and other insects have infested the walls causing us damage and requiring repairs in the space.
We would like to thank you once again for your attention, for your help, for strengthening our cause, which is so necessary.