Children Encouraged to Speak out Against Abuse

State Minister for Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is encouraging children to speak out against abuse.

Mr. Green said that while there has been an increase in the number of reported cases of child abuse by adults, there is still an issue of under-reporting, with only one out of 10 adults making reports.

He was speaking at the Reaching Individuals through Skills and Education (RISE) Life Management Services ‘Finding My Voice’ programme closing expo and concert, held on May 31 at Emancipation Park in Kingston,

“That is why we must have programmes that empower our children to speak up. That is why this ‘Finding My Voice’ programme is so important. It tells children about their rights and encourages them to speak if they are being abused, because we understand that we can’t depend on the adults only,” the State Minister said.

Mr. Green also encouraged children to make use of the resources available to them to report abuse.

“Children, we want you to know that if you are in a difficult situation, if you are being abused, you must say something. Go to your guidance counsellor, go to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) or the Child Development Agency (CDA), and tell them what is happening to you,” the State Minister added.

Meanwhile, Head of Delegation of the European Union (EU) to Jamaica, Malgorzata Wasilewska, said the EU remains committed to working with the Government and its partners to defend the rights of all persons.

“Children are particularly vulnerable, and so we must each make a commitment to do better in terms of protecting them. Children, everywhere, who are experiencing, or who feel threatened, must feel comfortable to tell someone and get the support they deserve. This means that all Jamaicans must become part of the solution. This entails doing all we can to develop positive relationships with the children in our care and helping them to feel safe enough to enjoy their childhood,” she said.

Executive Director of RISE, Sonita Abrahams, told JIS News the initiative has accomplished its goal of training persons in abuse prevention and promoting human rights.

“We have trained over 28,000 young people. We have gone around the island and have done sessions in the classroom with primary-school children. We have also done training with parents and guidance counsellors in the prevention of sexual abuse against children. The whole idea is to teach young people and parents how to be safe and to recognise if there is an abuse situation going on, and encourage children to speak up,” she explained.

Mrs. Abrahams added that while RISE will continue to promote the initiative on its social media platform, Facebook and the ‘Finding My Voice’ music project, more public- and private-sector involvement is necessary to end child abuse.

The EU-funded ‘Finding My Voice’ National Programme on the Prevention of Child Abuse is an 18-month intervention aimed at the promotion and protection of the rights of children.

It has directly impacted an estimated 1.4 million persons islandwide through its multimedia public-education campaign on the prevention of sexual violence against children.

Article by: Rochelle Williams
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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