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11 girls ages 10-14 give birth in 2010

11 girls ages 10-14 give birth in 2010

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Director of the Family Affairs Division, Cammie Matthews, says that he believes more should be done on the part of medical practitioners and other professionals to report cases of incest or incidents of unlawful sex with minors.{{more}}

In an article in the February 15th Midweek edition of SEARCHLIGHT, Sister Faustina Ballantyne, Departmental Head of the Maternal and Child Health Department at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital indicated that eleven girls between the ages of 10 and 14 gave birth in 2010.

She, however, noted that as a medical practitioner, there was very little she could do from a legal standpoint to deal with the issue.

But Matthews contended that the agency or medical personnel owed it to the well being of the individual to report the matter to the authorities.

While admitting that there have been instances where cases of sexual misconduct involving young girls and adult males have been brought to the attention of the Family Affairs Division, “medical practitioners ought to be obligated to, as it were, bring the matter to the police.”

Matthews did, however, indicate that the major problem was that the victim in most cases refused to reveal the identity of the perpetrator.

“We have had situations in the past where we have worked with the individual sometimes for weeks and we just couldn’t get the person to say who the perpetrator was,” Matthews told SEARCHLIGHT.

He added that one of the ways of getting around this barrier was by counseling the victim, but said that all adults including parents needed to take a more aggressive stance against the social ill.

Matthews even threw out a challenge to the legal fraternity, saying that although the legal premise is that an individual is innocent until proven guilty, he believed that more legal practitioners needed to adopt a no nonsense attitude against offenders.

“We need to be concerned about our young girls,” he said.

The head of the family affairs division did, however, outline some strategies to combat the problem, which include educating persons on their responsibility to alert the authorities to any case of sexual abuse.

He also mentioned the Child Care and Adoption Bill that was passed in the House of Parliament last year.

This Bill, according to Matthews, addresses issues such as mandatory reporting, but added that he still believes that there was a lot more that could be done on the communal level to deal with the issue.

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