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April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month

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April is child abuse, awareness and prevention month.

It is being celebrated as a time to raise awareness about child abuse and neglect and to encourage individuals and communities to support children.{{more}}

This is the thirteenth year since the inception of the month of awareness, however some officials within the Ministry of Mobilization under which the Family Affairs Division is housed, believe that much more needs to be done.

“It is heartening to know we can do this,” Rosita Snagg, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mobilization said at the official launch of the month of activities Monday, March 29.

“It is now 13 years since we are doing this and we have seen some positive results,” she continued.

Some of which include more awareness and the reporting of instances of abuse.

“But we know we still have a lot more work to do, the statistics don’t speak well and we have to cut down what we are seeing,” she said.

While there have been reductions in the numbers of reported cases of physical abuse, neglect and abandonment, other areas remain problematic for the Family Affairs Unit.

Maintenance, unlawful sex, teenage births and indecent assault have all registered increases in reported cases between 2007 and 2008.

According to the Permanent Secretary, between 1998 and 2006, teenage births accounted for 20 per cent of the national total.

This statistic increased to 23 per cent in 2009, totaling 430 teenage births for the year 2009.

Of these, there were 4 individuals 13 years or under and 99 teens aged 14 to 16 who gave birth last year.

“With these statistics, we cannot feel comfortable,” Snagg said.

“We have to get persons to understand that children need love, not disrespect and we need men and parents to understand that they need to support their children.”

“Every one of us must play our part to see no more of our children are abused,” Snagg contended.

This year’s month of activities is being held under the theme ‘Give love and respect, play your part and don’t neglect’.

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