Sunday 17 November, 2019

More support coming for victims of child abuse – State Minister Floyd Green

The Ministry of Education and Youth is set to strengthen the systems to facilitate reports of child abuse and provide support for victims.

“I think we always have to constantly reassess our systems to ensure that our children, who are the victims, that they are comfortable in filing these reports and that especially the psychological needs that they have are taken care of,” State Minister in the ministry, Floyd Green, said.

“I have been in constant dialogue with the CDA (Child Development Agency) in terms of strengthening those systems, ensuring that when they interact with the police, that our police understand the situation and how to treat with it,” he added.

Green was speaking at the launch of the Office of the Children’s Registry’s (OCR) ‘Break the Silence’ school tours at the Ocho Rios Primary School in St Ann on Monday.

He said a team of first responders has been set up to make that initial contact with any child who is suspected to have been a victim of abuse.

“The police understands that the CDA (Child Development Agency) and the OCR must be called and we are working with the Office of the Children’s Advocate to ensure that the rights of our children are taken care of,” he said.

The ‘Break the Silence’ tours aim to sensitise students, teachers and parents about child abuse, and how to identify and report known or suspected incidents. 

Green said the focus on schools is deliberate.

“We are taking a more targeted approach. We want to go into the schools, and the plan is… to empower our children so they can self-report. If they are having problems at home, we are saying to the children that they can go to teachers. The other aspect is that we are saying to the teachers that they have a responsibility under the law to tell what they know, and if they suspect that a child is being abused, they should let the OCR know so that the CDA can start an investigation as well as the police can get involved,” he said.

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