Family of murdered 13-year-old to receive counselling- MOPH

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The Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) will commence counselling for family members of murdered 13-year-old Berbician Leonard Archibald, said Balagun Osunbiyi, Senior Psychologist attached to the Mental Health Unit.

Osunbiyi, in a MOPH release, said “the counselling package will include a menu of measures which will include psycho-social and problem-solving skills, coping and refusal (not yielding to peer pressure etc).”

Raped and Murdered: Leonard Archibald

According to Osunbiyi, counselling is among a series of key interventions needed to help family members of murdered 13-year-old Leonard Archibald of Lot 51 Brothers East Bank Berbice whose body was recovered in the Berbice River some three miles from his home.

Accused: Hillary Edwards

Police have arrested two male suspects, Hilary Edwards, 29, of Sisters Village and Odedeih Christopher, 19, of Skeldon, Corentyne and also of Sisters Village, for the death of the school child.

Accused: Nicholas (Odedeih) Christopher

Osunbiyi said mental health, social workers and a psychologist have already visited the grieving Berbice family.

The parents of the deceased child, who are understandably traumatised, said they will “not rest” until they receive justice for their murdered son.

“As a result of the obvious trauma, the MOPH will be offering counselling for the family which will include the older children and the father” Walter Archibald who is a Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) employee and also a part-time fisherman, Osunbiyi said.

Senior Psychologist: Balagun Osunbiyi

According to Osunbiyi, villagers disclosed that while there are several known paedophiles roaming the Brothers, East Bank Berbice community, Edwards was “the worst” of the lot.

Residents were previously mum about sexual assaults in the village until Archibald’s death.

“The villagers have also revealed that Edwards, the prime suspect is believed to have sexually molested some one dozen other young men in the community” said the MOPH release.

As a consequence of this revelation, the MOPH says it will also be undertaking sustained community-sensitisation programmes to help familiarise residents with techniques to spot both perpetrators and victims of sexual assaults.

A profile of perpetrators of sexual violence reveals that some might have been victims themselves and as a consequence have difficulties maintaining personal relationships with adults. They prey on others with unresolved sexual issues and are usually “hooked on addictive substances”, Osunbiyi explained.

He said rapid change in behaviour; unpredictable and inexplicable mood swings; expressions of violence and ‘cutting’ themselves are among the tell-tale signs of victims of sexual violence.

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