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Child abuse on the rise

Child abuse on the rise

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Disturbing statistics coming from the Division of Family Services of the Ministry of National Mobilization indicate that more cases of child abuse were reported in 2007 than in 2006.{{more}}

At the recent launch of the 2008 edition of Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, Director of Family Affairs Cammie Matthews stated that there is still cause for concern, as the statistics show that there is yet work to be done in an effort to keep the numbers from rising.

According to the statistics, reported sexual abuse and neglect of children (persons under the age of 18, according to the United Nations Charter of the rights of the child) have risen, while physical abuse has declined.

In 2007, there were 41 reported cases of sexual abuse as compared to 36 in 2006, and 58 cases of neglect as compared to 50 the previous year.

Physical abuse numbers dropped from 73 to 41 this year.

Matthews noted that these were the numbers that were brought to his division located at Paul’s Avenue. These figures, however, do not include the ones that were reported directly to the Family Court.

Matthews said that great emphasis will be placed on prevention of child abuse, in an effort to see fewer cases taking place in the weeks, months and years ahead.

“One of the reasons for this is because as we look at our statistics, we recognize that there is still serious cause for concern. We are prepared and committed to being strong advocates of the wellbeing and welfare of our children.”

He called on the wider community to get the message that children are of primary importance to the growth and development of this country.

The month of activities got started with a church service at the St. George’s Cathedral in Kingstown on Tuesday April 1st, and throughout the month, the division will be involved in television and radio programs, visits to schools, workshops and various newspaper articles.

The theme for this year’s month of activities is “Empower the Family- Educate, Participate, Prevent Child Abuse.” (JJ)

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