Protection of the nation’s children is the focus of this year’s Child Abuse Prevention Week, currently being observed by the Probation and Child Protection Services of the Ministry of Community Development, Gender Affairs & Social Services.
The week, which runs from November 17th to 22nd, is being observed under the theme “Thirty Years of Child Protection; Nurturing the Next Generation”.
In speaking of the importance of the Week, Mr. Gerald Connor, Director (Ag.) of the Department, noted that the observance was designed to bring awareness to the pressing issue of Child Abuse in the Federation, and the importance of ensuring that the fundamental rights of children are looked after, including their right to be protected from harm. “With the backdrop of the Federation being the first CARICOM signatory of the Convention of the Rights of a Child, we have shown that we can lead the way”, he declared.
The Week of Activities officially opened on Sunday, as members of the Department enjoyed communal worship at the Pro-Cathedral of St. George (formerly the St. George’s Anglican Church).
The following day saw the Ministry’s offices beautifully decorated in blue (the awareness colour for Child Abuse) for the Department’s Open Day, in which the public was invited to come in and learn more about the work of the Probation and Child Protection team. “The Daily Tip” radio briefings, which spotlight important areas of child protection, were also launched.
Tuesday 19th November was observed as Corporal Punishment Suspension Day – a day in which persons with children in their care were asked to refrain from the commonly used ‘beatings’ or ‘licks’ (which sometimes lead to physical abuse) in favour of other modes of discipline, according to the Mr. Connor, who emphasized the Department’s desire to see parents and guardians use alternative and creative ways to instill values and discipline in children.
Wednesday 20th, internationally celebrated as Universal Children’s Day, saw Probation and Child Protection officers visiting schools across the island to engage with children and relay information on matters concerning youth, as well as promote the work of the Department.
On Friday, Basseterre is expected to be draped in blue for “Wear Blue Day” to bring attention to the problem of Child Abuse, while the Department’s officers will ‘hit the town’ to engage with the public on children’s issues and the need to continue nurturing the Federation’s youth.
The public is asked to show full support for Child Abuse Prevention by wearing blue on Friday, November 22nd.