Childcare and Protection Agency strengthens collaboration with Police to curb child abuse
As the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security advances steps to strengthen collaboration with the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to curb child abuse, a cross training exercise was conducted recently with approximately 60 officers. The training was held at the Officers’ Training Centre in Kingston.
Director of Children’s Services and Head of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) Ms. Ann Greene and the Ministry’s Legal Counsel, Ms. Telisha Williams conducted the session. The exercise is in keeping with Minister Hon. Dr. Vindhya Persaud’s vision for effective childcare in Guyana, and her plans to roll out several projects to aid in the protection of children.
“We have to collaborate with key partners to keep children safe, and the GPF is a key partner. Child protection cannot be done in isolation,” Ms. Greene said, adding that the exercise served to sensitise the officers on the work of the CPA.
“Safeguarding children is a shared responsibility – everyone’s responsibility. Children can only be safe if families, communities, non-professional and professionals work together. Professionals such as the police, health workers, teachers, social services officers are a must,” she added.
Ms. Greene said partnerships and collaborations have to include civil society. “There must be Government and private partnerships and collaboration at the community level; but a very important partnership is with the family.”
The latest statistics available to the Ministry indicate that for the first quarter of the year alone, a total of 404 boys have been abused, with the figure for girls being at 635. The types of abuse reported include physical, sexual, verbal, neglect, and abandonment.
As the Ministry continues its aggressive campaign against child abuse in Guyana, Minister Persaud recently opened two one-stop child advocacy centres for the reporting of child sexual abuse and the treatment of victims. The centres were opened in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) in conjunction with Child Link and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), through the CPA. One was opened at Whim and the other at Springlands.
The Ministry has been making efforts to conduct robust public engagements aimed at creating linkages between the people and Central Government. Minister Persaud had said that the aim of reaching out in this way was to ensure that the public has access to key services being offered by the State.
“From where I sit, I would like to ensure that our systems from the Ministry function efficiently and effectively. So, this gives us an opportunity to assess the performance of our officers across the country because from people you get feedback – Did you go to the office? Were you given a hard time? Did you have a run around? – so that we can fix those things because you’re only as good as the way you serve people,” Dr. Persaud said.