Mzimba North district social welfare office says it expects child abuse cases to rise above 889 recorded between January and June last year.
The office says the figure, currently at 833 (from January to June this year) is likely to rise because the district welfare office has not included statistics from Child Justice Court and Victim Support Unit in Mzuzu as well as from other areas such as Njuyu, Kafukule, Bwengu, Manolo and Mpherembe.
Speaking during Day of the African Child commemorations at Mpherembe Community Day Secondary School (CDSS) on Saturday, Mzimba North district social welfare officer Edward Chisanga said the rise should act as a wake-up call among stakeholders dealing with the vice.
“We need to double our efforts if we are to end this malpractice. We should work together to reverse the situation as soon as possible,” he said.
According to Chisanga, Mzimba North, comprising senior chiefs Mtwalo and Mpherembe and Traditional Authority Jalavikuba, recorded 2 204 child abuse cases in 2018 while 1 519 cases were recorded in 2017.
The cases include early marriages, defilement, abductions, abandonment and child prostitution.
Senior Chief Mpherembe, who was the guest of honour, attributed the situation to poverty.
He urged organisations dealing in child protection to enhance awareness campaigns to prevent all forms of child abuse in the area.
On his part, Plan Malawi child protection officer Silence Banda said it is good that communities are now able to report cases related to child abuse.