Child Advocacy Centre to be established in Lethem

Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud has announced that Lethem, Region Nine will soon have its own Child Advocacy Centre (CAC).

The significant step towards protecting the rights and well-being of children is being brought to fruition, through the collaborative effort of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) ─ ChildLink and Blossom Inc.

“We have given both [NGOs] substantial subventions towards the establishment of child advocacy centres and they work in partnership with this ministry to provide support services. So, with ChildLink, there will be the establishment of a child advocacy centre in Region Nine, Lethem,” Minister Persaud told the Department of Public Information (DPI) during a recent interview.

The development signifies a proactive approach towards safeguarding children’s rights and creating a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow and thrive.

As the centre will offer specialised services designed to respond to cases of child sexual abuse efficiently, by ensuring that children have access to a child-safe and child-friendly space to share their stories and get the support needed to overcome the trauma they have suffered. 

CACs play a pivotal role in coordinating and streamlining services, including medical care, counselling, legal assistance, and social support. The centre will be open to all communities, including migrants.

The undertaking is all part of the PPP/C Administration’s efforts of expanding childcare programmes and centres countrywide while enhancing the capacity of the Child Care and Protection Agency.

Additionally, the ministry’s domestic violence toll-free 914-hotline is sharing the role of providing aid to persons, especially women and girls, who are exposed to domestic abuse, providing them with a safe space to seek help.

The service was launched in December 2020, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and several telecommunications networks including Digicel Guyana, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph (GTT), and the Telecommunications Agency.

Since the launch, the ministry has taken steps to improve the hotline by ensuring all 914 operators are trained in foreign languages, to assist every victim who makes a report.