Group says girls face daily safety risks

March 8, 2007 at 12:07 AM

NEW YORK, March 7 (UPI) -- A U.S.-based human rights group is marking International Women's Day with a call for greater protections for girls.

"Girls are at risk of violence on the streets, in schools, at home, where they work, and in government institutions," said Jo Becker, advocacy director for Human Rights Watch's children's rights division. "In far too many cases, girls are betrayed by the very individuals who are supposed to protect them -- guardians, teachers, employers and the police."

With International Women's Day Thursday, the group is urging governments to create confidential, toll-free hotlines to receive reports of abuses against girls, including mechanisms accessible to students, domestic workers, and children in detention.

HRW said governments need to ensure "prompt and effective investigation of such complaints" and appropriate action against perpetrators. Sexual assault victims should also be given access to "medical examinations, trauma counseling, emergency contraception, and post-exposure HIV prophylaxis."

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