Childlink and the University of Guyana have merged their resources to raise awareness on child abuse in Guyana.
According to the Departmnet of Public Information (DPI), more than 100 persons gathered at the institute’s Education Lecture Theatre, Turkeyen Campus on Tuesday afternoon, to discuss the various forms of child abuse and ways to address this issue. Among the many participants were several social workers who would have experience dealing with children exposed to this mistreatment.
Chairman of Childlink, Kosi John was quoted by DPI as saying that the agency will continue to provide a safe environment for Guyana’s children, since its mandate is to work towards the protection of children against abuse and exploitation, including physical, sexual, emotional, neglect and commercial, along with the strengthening of protection networks, systems, policies, procedures and approaches to impact on the cause.
“We want every system and agency to be active when it comes to fighting child abuse in Guyana. 4000 reported cases are very alarming and we the leaders of society cannot rest until we know our children are safe and able to reach their full potential,” Kosi said.
Vice-Chancellor at the University of Guyana, Professor Ivelaw Griffith called on all Guyanese to make investing in the nation’s children a priority. “We all have seen and heard of the scourge, this epidemic called child abuse. Children are to be protected by their parents and guardians, they should not be exposed to any kind of abuse. Children are our future, too many children are exposed to neglect, which is one of the main causes to open the door to other sorts of abuse,” Professor Griffith said.
He added that it is important that the communities, schools, churches and youth groups work together to raise awareness and report cases of child abuse to the relevant authorities.
According to the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), the rate of child abuse is highest in Region 10 reflected by 22.1 percent per 1,000 children. Following closely on the situation in Region 10 is Region Three, with a child abuse rate of 20.6 percent.
In a report from Director of CPA, Ann Greene stated that the most prevalent form of abuse was that of neglect, amounting to 2,176 cases. Greene stressed that neglect is a serious form of abuse and the younger the child, the more devastating it can be to that child’s growth and development.
Green had said in an earlier report that persons must be aware of the laws that govern this issue and not be afraid to voice their concerns.