Child care director calls for urgent ‘change’ in adults’ behaviour to tackle abuse

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…Region 10 records highest child abuse cases

Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene, at the recently held special meeting with religious organisations in Guyana — at the Umana Yana in Kingston, Georgetown, has called for an urgent ‘change’ in adults’ behaviour and attitudes regarding reports of child abuse.

The Social Protection Ministry, she reiterated, cannot do it alone, hence the need for partnerships at the grassroots level in order to prevent child abuse and promote child well-being.

“There are more channels to (facilitate reporting), and persons are more willing to talk about child abuse; but there is still too much silence, particularly on childhood sexual abuse, which is done behind closed doors, and victims are without a voice,” Greene is quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying.

Meanwhile, the Upper Demerara-Berbice community known officially as Region 10 has recorded the highest cases of child abuse for 2017 — some 22.1 per cent of the country’s recorded total.

Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene

This demographic is followed by Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) with 20.6 per cent of the recorded total; and Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), with 17.6 per cent thereof.

Greene has said that the most common form of reported child abuse is neglect, for which Region Ten has recorded the highest score. While regions One, Eight and Nine did not record any child neglect cases, those regions recorded high rates of child sexual abuse.

“All the regions have recorded (child) sexual abuse, so it’s (a phenomenon occurring) right across the country. But if you look at where the hurt is for children, it’s in the home. In the place where they should be loved the most, they are being hurt. Mothers are the main perpetrators, and fathers,” Greene explained.

She noted that these statistics are not reflective of an increase in cases of child abuse, but are rather attributed to the multimedia child abuse awareness campaign that was launched by the CPA last year.

The Childcare and Protection Agency is responsible for making timely interventions in matters concerning children. This includes any action that is deemed necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of children; or that prevents, reduces and alleviates the effects of the abuse and neglect of children by offering effective services to which their rights entitle them.

The public is being urged to help abused children, or report any suspected cases by contacting the ministry’s hotline number: 227-0979.

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