[www.inewsguyana.com] – The national silence on child sexual abuse must end in Guyana says Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene.
According to a release from the Ministry of Social Protection, Greene is unhappy that “there is still a national silence on sexual abuse” of children, especially girls.
“Sexual abuse is still a hidden crime (in Guyana) and people are still accepting abusers of their children,” Greene said.
The release noted that Greene is peeved about the conspiracy by parents, particularly mothers who warn their abused children “not to talk because (the perpetrator) will go away and leave us” thus plunging the family into deeper financial crisis.
She wants Guyanese adults to “view and treat children differently” but admits that this is a national challenge because of the decline of values. In addition to a collapse of national values, Greene has cited drug use and addiction, other substance abuse such as alcohol, mental health issues and poverty among other challenges as other reasons why, especially adult men, prey on children.
“Children in uniform should be protected by the wider society. Child protection is not only the business of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) but it’s everyone’s business. Keeping children safe is shared adult responsibility. This means that every adult in the Guyanese society must do their part in the protection of children.”
The Child Protection Agency Director’s comments come ahead of the national observation of Child Protection Week to be observed here from September 20 – 26.
It will be observed under the theme ‘Strengthening Families to Protect Children’. The Ministry of Social Protection will commence the week’s activities with an ‘Awareness Walk’ in the capital city, Georgetown, moving from the Cenotaph and ending at the Seawalls.
A highlight of the week’s observances will be the “breaking the silence on child sexual abuse” rally targeting adults to be held on September 23 at the Rose Hall Ground.
Parent Teachers Association (PTA) officers, religious, civic and community leaders will also address the rally. During the week-long observances too, Minister of Social Protection, Volda Lawrence is scheduled to launch ‘A Guide To Sexual Offences Act’ written in braille for the visually impaired.
The Child Protection Week will conclude with a musical concert and other attractive events to be staged at the Botanical Gardens in the capital. Child Protection Week is a global event and has been observed in Guyana in September since 2004.