Regional

CPFSA head bemoans continued high reports of child abuse

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, September 19, 2019

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) Chief Executive Officer Rosalee Gage Gray is bemoaning that despite interventions such as the Break the Silence Campaign over the years, reports of child abuse have still not been reducing sufficiently.

In light of that, she is now encouraging a shift of strategy which will allow for parents and guardians to be educated in the art of child protection.

“We are not seeing over the years, with all the interventions, any serious reduction in the amount of children being abused and so the strategy that we have to use, we have to shift to say to parents, guardians, custodians of children how do we protect our children, and what is child protection because a lot of time we think that people know, but they don't,” Gage Grey remarked.

“An average of 10 in every 1,000 children are the subject of a child abuse report. We get approximately 1,200 reports a month. Last year in 2018 we received approximately 15,000 reports of abuse right across the spectrum: physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, which is the most prevalent form of abuse that is reported to us at the registry; and 79 per cent of our children witness violence in their communities or in their homes.”

Speaking at a Kiwanis Club of Montego Bay meeting at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) office in the resort city last week, the CEO of the CPFSA revealed that Break the Silence campaign has resulted in more than 1,000 child abuse cases reaching her office monthly.

“We have launched several campaigns in the past, you might have heard about the Break the Silence campaign that was launched by the Office of the Children Registry (OCR), that has gone well and we are thinking that it is a part of that campaign that we are seeing the reports of the abuse that are meted against our children,” she outlined.

In 2015 the then Office of the Children Registry, which merged with the Child Development Agency to form the Child Protection and Family Service Agency, launched the Break the Silence campaign, encouraging Jamaicans to support the fight against child abuse.

Gage Grey also suggested that in this technological age, public schools which have the no-cellular phone policy in place should reconsider their stance.

She highlighted the need for parents to know the whereabouts of their children.

“We have to know where our children are, I know some of the schools don't allow cell-phone...students and it's an issue,” Gage-Grey argued.

“We are in the technological age, and we might have to decide how we are going to manage that as a school population because to be in touch with the children is going to be important for some of us who are very busy and need to be in touch with them (children), especially after school, even for them to check in to say yes I am home, I have taken the bus.

“A lot of children go home and they have to use the key and get in [the house and] they are there alone, we understand the economics, but we have to also understand the risk that is there because just like how you are watching, others are watching.”


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