Children’s Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison is strongly condemning the disturbing actions of the people involved in the vicious beating of a 14-year-old girl on Allan Street in Denbigh, Clarendon, last Saturday.
Since the incident, seven people, including three adult women and four teenagers, have been charged in connection with the brutal attack which was captured on video and shared on social media.
Gordon Harrison told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday that the incident is an unfortunate display of poor conflict resolution skills and demonstrates the level of violence that is practised by some members of the society.
“It is also extremely disturbing that minors were involved and the adults involved were irresponsible to have participated in such an assault,” she said.
Gordon Harrison said the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) has been involved in the case from the outset and is providing support to the family, legally and otherwise.
“The OCA will continue to monitor the case and as things progress will provide timely updates,” she said.
Also troubled by the callous nature of the attack, chief executive officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) Laurette Adams-Thomas, in a media release on Thursday afternoon, said the entity continues to denounce violence against children and child abuse in all forms “and we call on adults to lead the way in demonstrating healthy conflict resolution.”
“Adults should be setting an example on how to peacefully resolve an issue, they should not be attacking children; and at the very least, they should be protecting children when they witness them being harmed. As a society we need to demonstrate a new attitude towards protecting and nurturing our children,” she said.
Adams-Thomas said the CPFSA launched an investigation into the attack, shortly after the video went viral and has since provided counselling to the child and her mother who have been referred for additional counselling and support.
“The child was also referred to the Ministry of Justice’s Victims Services Division by a social worker at the hospital,” Adams-Thomas said.
She said CPFSA team members also visited the child’s community on January 3, along with members of the police’s Community and Safety Branch and representatives from the OCA, to share with residents the importance of caring for and protecting children.
Adams-Thomas encouraged people to report any and all forms of child abuse using the 24-hour child abuse reporting hotline 211. Additionally, she noted that child abuse reports may be made through WhatsApp/text at 876-878-2882, e-mail email@example.com or by visiting any CPFSA parish office, or through the agency’s social media pages (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) @cpfsajm.
The May Pen police had reported that about 2:00 pm, the 14-year-old girl was on Allan Street when she was ambushed and beaten by the group, leaving her unconscious.
She was taken to hospital where she was admitted in serious condition, and has since been released.
Following an investigation, the six females were taken into custody on Tuesday, January 2, while the one male was arrested a day later.
Charged with unlawful wounding and assault occasioning actual bodily harm are 52-year-old Pauline Hughes of Woodside district; 36-year-old Shayanne Williams and 22-year-old Amanda Anderson, both of Havannah Heights in the parish.
The identities of the four teens — three females ages 15, 16, and 17, and a 17-year-old male — have not been released. They were jointly charged with their adult counterparts and were remanded into the care of the Department of Correctional Services.
The adults are slated to answer to charges in the May Pen Parish Court on Thursday, January 11.