Jamaican News

Church Encouraged to Give More Support in Curbing Child Abuse

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is encouraging the church to undertake more activities that support the Government’s programmes aimed at curbing child abuse.

Speaking at a recent child abuse forum at the Webster Memorial United Church in St. Andrew, the State Minister said the church’s actions are critical in assisting to create the environment that assures an abused child that “there is somebody they can turn to for assistance”.

Mr. Green said child abuse poses a major challenge for Jamaica, as State agencies with responsibility for safeguarding children’s welfare receive an average of 1,200 reports of child abuse each month.

“We are talking about 1,200 children who are in very difficult and trying circumstances who need to be helped,” he added.

Mr. Green said the Administration and civil society envision Jamaica as a country where the nation’s children can grow up in a safe environment and “really fulfil their true potential (and) be happy, innocent and playful while enjoying life”.

The State Minister noted, however, that “a number of our children, unfortunately, do not have that as their reality”.

“We do have a big problem with child abuse and we are trying to treat with it. But, we have a long way to go… that’s the reality. The only way we are going to cover the distance much faster is through partnerships,” he emphasised.

Against this background, Mr. Green lauded the Webster Memorial United Church for staging the fora to heighten public awareness of issues regarding child abuse and how it can and should be addressed.

He said the Church had “quite appropriately” chosen to highlight the matter during the observance of May as Child Month under the theme ‘Take Action! Break the Chain of Abuse against Our Children’.

Mr. Green said based on the presentations and discussions, “I think we have seen how worthwhile this venture is”.

For his part, Webster United Church Pastor, Rev. Astor Carlyle, said the welfare and well-being of the nation’s children are of critical importance.

“As such, I am sure I speak on behalf of all of us when I say that we are all concerned about the reports of abuse and abandonment of our children,” he added.

Rev. Carlyle said the forum was a regular part of Webster’s witness, “as we seek to bring thoughtful perspectives on matters that impact our lives and shape responses and approaches aimed at sustainable existence”.

The forum also featured presentations by Child Development Agency Chief Executive Officer, Rosalee Gage-Grey; Director of Investigations, Inspection and Compliance, Office of the Children’s Registry, Keisha Rodrigues-Mills; Officer at the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Inspector Elaine Jeffrey; Human and Mission Resources Manager, United Church in Jamaica and Grand Cayman, Janet McConnell; and Coordinator at victim support organisation, Eve for Life, Shana-Lee Smith.

Article by: Douglass McIntosh
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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