CPFSA hosts information session on National Action Plan

Friday, September 14, 2018

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IN response to the ongoing violence against children in Jamaica, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) Wednesday hosted its first stakeholder information session on the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence, in Kingston.

The National Plan of Action is part of Jamaica's response to its commitment made to the Global Partnership to end violence against children and will be implemented over a five-year period.

The goal is to create and maintain a protective environment, supportive of and responsive to the issues of violence, child abuse and maltreatment of children in Jamaica.

During the session, aspects of the Plan were outlined to stakeholders, with the objective of better informing them of the steps that will be taken to implement the plan.

Chief Executive Officer of the CPFSA Rosalee Gage-Grey said the session was aimed at providing a coordinated and structured response to addressing the key issues and challenges pertaining to children as victims, perpetrators and witnesses of acts of abuse.

“The impact of violence on children in Jamaica is dire, and even one more day of delaying a coordinated and sustained response is too long. In 2017, some 55 children died of a homicide, a 34 per cent increase over 2016. During the period January to August 2018, the homicides decreased by 15 per cent as compared to last year,” Gage-Grey said.

“While these steps are in the right direction, these casualties still remain too high. The loss of any life is one too many. In the 2017/2018 fiscal period, we received and investigated over 13,000 reports of child abuse that were received by the National Children's Registry,” she added.

Gage-Grey noted that the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence will help to address this major issue.

She said the Government, through its agencies, has taken steps to prevent incidents of violence against children, and signalled its commitment on an international platform when it signed to be a pathfinder country in 2016 (with the international End Violence Against Children initiative).

Gage-Grey also called on Jamaicans to help the Government to prevent violence against children.

“There are those who believe that it is the Government's job to fix this, but the Government cannot achieve this on its own; neither can the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information nor the Child Protection and Family Services Agency,” she said.

“What is needed is for us to foster greater synergy and coordination with our stakeholders and partners at the international, regional, national, parish and community levels, if we are to arrest the scourge of violence impacting children and their families,” she added.

Prior to this event, there was a major review of the National Plan of Action, at the Mona Visitors' Lodge in St Andrew in July 2017.

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