[www.inewsguyana.com] – Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence has revealed that there has been just over 350 reported cases of child sexual abuse thus far in 2015.
The Minister made the revelation during her statement in observance of Child Protection Week – September 20-26 – which is being held under the theme, “Strengthening Families to Protect Children.”
Lawrence stated that “it is most unfortunate that the Child Care and Protection Agency has received more than 350 reports of child abuse, neglect or maltreatment through its hotline and that more than 128 children were placed in care outside of their home. Of the 800-plus children in institutional care, only 17 have been reunited with their biological families for this year. Statistics show that persons raised in dysfunctional families frequently report difficulties in their adult life.”
The Minister stated that Child Protection Week serves as a stark reminder that much more needs to be done to make the world a safer and better place for children.
“This year the Ministry of Social Protection, through the Child Care and Protection Agency seeks to place on the front burner the urgent need for reuniting children across the country, especially those in orphanages and state institutions with their families or providing alternative families for them.”
The Minister stated that statistics show that persons raised in dysfunctional families frequently report difficulties in their adult life. However, with specialised support, families are capable of providing the necessary care resulting in those very children leading healthy, productive lives in society.
“The current situation is unacceptable and Government is committed to creating a change by ensuring a conducive environment for children to enjoy familial life. Hence, high on the Child Care and Protection Agency’s Agenda over the next year will be the crafting of a national policy for children in need of alternative care,” Lawrence said.
“Our priority would include providing increased support for vulnerable families to prevent separation of children, child maltreatment, abuse and neglect. This is premised on the principle that child protection is a shared responsibility among individuals, families, government, religious organisations and society as a whole.”
The Child Protection Agency is set to enhance its inter-agency and professional collaboration with various stakeholders, especially local Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Faith-Based Organisations (FBOs) to expand the social network support for the families at the community level.
Efforts will also be made to boost parents’ capacity to provide adequate care and protection for their children, particularly in providing training for the enhancement of parenting skills.