Child protection on the move in Mosul

Our team of mobile child protection experts are supporting children in and around Mosul City. Photo; Arete/War Child UK

The military operation to recapture Mosul from ISIS has been the deadliest urban battle since World War II. 

An estimated 436,000 people have been uprooted from Mosul in the last year - with up to 4,000 people fleeing the city every day. 

After living under ISIS for over two years, children from Mosul have been exposed to things no child should ever have to see.

Many children have been killed, maimed, abducted, recruited into by armed groups and exposed to sexual violence and exploitation.

As they fled Mosul, children may have been faced direct fire, snipers and landmines or become separated from their families. For those who stayed in the city, the violence will have been unbearable. 

This crisis has had a devastating psychological and emotional impact on many of Mosul's children. 

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Mosul's children have lived under ISIS control for over two years. Photo: Arete/War Child UK

Setting up mobile support teams

Our teams have been working round the clock to provide support to children from Mosul. 

First, we spoke to parents about how the conflict had affected their children. 

The majority of parents and caregivers told us that they had noticed changes in their children's behaviour including increased anxiety, crying and sleep disruptions.

Others told us how they had seen children become withdrawn. 

War Child Iraq
Children from Mosul have seen things no child should ever see. Photo: Marcia Chandra/War Child UK

We've set up mobile Child Protection teams to help extremely vulnerable children in Mosul and nearby displacement camps. 

Each team includes dedicated caseworkers who are trained to provide psychological first aid. There is also a psychologist on hand to support with the most serious cases. 

So far we have supported 856 children, helping them to overcome their experiences and improving their overall wellbeing. 

Another 23 of the most at risk children have been referred to specialist services.

The teams are also raising awareness of ways to access education, and child protection - with a particular focus on protecting girls from gender based violence. 

The mobile teams have already had a huge impact, and we're on track to protect even more children. 

 

War child iraq mosul
Our mobile Child Protection teams are supporting vulnerable children in Mosul. Photo: Marcia Chandra/War Child UK

About the author:

Ben is our Regional Programme Officer for Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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