With summer schools now officially closed and the holiday in full swing, the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR), the body responsible for managing reports of child abuse, is reminding parents and guardians to ensure that their children are properly supervised and receive adequate attention during the remainder of the break.
The OCR is also calling on parents and guardians to be especially vigilant of the care and protection of their children during the public holiday weekend and in light of the impending Tropical Storm Ernesto.
Between 2007 and 2011, the OCR received over 25,000 reports of child abuse, with neglect cases (11,599) being the highest reported. Of the total neglect cases, the majority of these (4,557) were for inadequate supervision.
Since the start of 2012, over 4,700 reports have already been received. Of that amount, children who are being neglected accounted for the most reports received.
The OCR noted that during the summer period, since school is out, it is more likely for many parents to leave their children alone at home unsupervised. This may result in harm or injury to the child and as such should not be practised.
The OCR is advising parents that under the Child Care and Protection Act they may be charged up to $1 million or face up to five years imprisonment if they are found guilty of neglect. Persons who also fail to report child abuse to the OCR may be charged $500,000 or imprisoned for six months or both.
Persons who wish to make a report to the OCR may call 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) or 908-2132 between the hours 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, Mondays to Fridays.
In addition, persons now have the option to make reports to the OCR from their Blackberry phones using the recently launched Child Abuse Reporting System (CARS), which is available for free download from BlackBerry App World.