Child Advocacy Centre opened in Linden
DPI, GUYANA, Wednesday, May 23, 2018
The protection of children in Linden has been boosted with the opening of a Children’s Advocacy Centre (CAC) yesterday.
The centre located in the former Linden Hospital Complex is the seventh of its kind and complements others present in Regions Two, Four, Five and Seven. It operates using a multi-disciplinary approach. Professionals from, child protective services, law enforcement, medical and victim support advocates, and others work in partnership to make decisions about the investigation, treatment, management and prosecution of child abuse cases.
Statistics from the last Childcare Protection Agency (CPA) report 2017 show that Linden has had the country’s highest reported cases of sexual abuse. This prompted the Ministry of Social Protection’s Childcare and Protection Agency, and UNICEF, in collaboration with local Non-Government Organisation Blossom Incorporated and establish the centre.
The centres in the various regions are operated by NGO’s Child Link and Blossom Incorporated. The Linden facility will be managed by Blossom Incorporated. Managing Director Ayo Dalgetty-Dean outlined the services, “We’ll be conducting forensic interviews of children who’ve been sexually abused. We’ll be doing therapeutic counselling or trauma-informed counselling, victim advocacy, court support and also we’ll be doing some preventative work, parenting classes and outreach sessions to sensitise the community on child sexual abuse. I think this is absolutely necessary and absolutely needed. We need to let the children know we’re here to protect them and there’s a system in place that will deal with them sensitively”
Assistant Director of CPA, Teona October said they have been establishing Children’s Advocacy Centres to provide vulnerable victims with the privacy to report incidences and to receive necessary counselling.
The initiative was welcomed by Linden’s Mayor Waneka Arrindell. She said, “This is something that the people of Linden needed, and as a Mayor I’m proud that it’s a part of our town and a part of our region.” The Mayor added that the facility will bring a much-needed relief to abused children, adding, “it is a great start which will allow more to be built from it.”
The Ministry of Social Protection, Childcare and Protection Agency, and Blossom Incorporated continues to focus on child protection. The public is urged to report any cases of child abuse so that assistance can be offered.
By: Stephon Gabriel
Image by Leon Leung.