In its continued fight to eradicate child abuse, the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) met with various stakeholders to find solutions.
The March 15 meeting saw participation from Members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) attached to the Sparendaam, Beterverwagting and Cove and John Police Stations on the East Coast of Demerara; Region Four District Childcare and Protection Department, Medical Officers attached to the Regional Democratic Council, and Probation Officers attached to the Region Four Probation Office.
Director of the CPA, Ann Greene said the initiative aims to ensure everyone is a voice to report any abuse of children.
“Too many times, persons see abuse and fail to report it, we need the churches and youth groups, Education Sector, Health sector and the judiciary system to work together to put a stop to child abuse. We will take a stand to hold parents accountable. Too many times these sinister acts go unreported which can cause a child to become self- destructive if the appropriate measures and counselling are not taken seriously.”
She added that persons must be aware of the laws that govern this issue and act upon them. Green reiterated that persons must never be afraid to voice their concerns.
Coming out of the interactive session, several police officers highlighted the importance of members of communities cooperating in order to have perpetrators successful prosecuted and the victims receive the justice they deserve.
“There is a gap that needs to be bridged when there is a sexual offence, we take the victim to the sexual offences unit attached to the Police Station… Communication is vital to assisting the victim,” one of the law enforcement officers said.
Matters such as thorough medical examination of victims and case referrals were also highlighted as areas that need improvement.
“We at the agency do not want to come across as authoritative, we seek to build communication, a strong relation to eradicating child abuse. We work with parents through our Parenting Skills Training Programme.”
Addressing the issue of child neglect, Green emphasised that this is one of the main reasons for children becoming vulnerable and exposed to all types of abuse.
In 2018, four hundred and eight one (481) cases were reported to the agency, with 134, thus far, for 2019.
The Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), under the laws of Guyana, has the authority to look after the welfare and the wellbeing of children; to ensure that they reach their full potential and become free from abusive situations and become functional individuals in society. As such, the Ministry of Social Protection is seeking to raise more awareness of the dangers of sexual and other forms of violence.
Images: Amir Sattaur
20190315-DSC_0042: Director of Childcare and Protection Agency, Ann Greene
20190315-DSC_0045: Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) on Broad Street, Georgetown
20190315-DSC_0024: Members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF)
20190315-DSC_0026: Members of the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) and Childcare and Protection Agency (RDC), Region 4