Changing social norms critical to reducing child abuse
-Minster calls on public to partner with Childcare agency
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud is appealing to the public, particularly parents and guardians, to listen and believe children who report abuse.
Her call comes as Guyana observes Child Protection Week.
“Child protection is multidimensional and if efforts are to be impactful in championing the cause of children, everyone must be involved in their protection. To achieve this, collaboration is key; the Childcare and Protection Agency cannot do it alone,” Minister Persaud said.
The Minister also called for the support of schools, religious organisations and the wider community, noting that it was an uphill battle to keep children safe, and prevent abuse, harm, and exploitation.
“The Ministry understands the importance of a nurturing family in the development of children. Therefore, families need to be educated and supported in their role. Children too, have to be empowered and given information for first line of defence again child abuse,” Dr. Persaud explained.
The Minister noted that it was not the responsibility of children to protect themselves, but the role of adults, and that to turn a blind eye to crimes committed against them was to do them a grave injustice.
“We have intensified our multimedia awareness campaign across the regions, to be able to reach all segments of society to educate on the plight of children who suffer abuse and to highlight signs and symptoms to push the public into protective action,” Dr. Persaud said.
The Ministry’s Partnership Development Programme, through its linkages with local groups, faith and community based-organisations, sensitises parents about abuse and offer them support.
Child Protection Week 2020 is being observed from September 20-26, under the theme “Protecting Children and Empowering Families to cope with the Global Pandemic.