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Child Abuse Protocol and Reporting Guidelines essential



As we celebrate activities to mark Universal Children’s Day, under the theme: “Protection from Violence is our Children’s Right – Our Responsibility” the launch of the Child Abuse Protocol and Reporting Guidelines stands out as a major achievement. This protocol is a response to the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ obligations to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the OECS Reform of Legislation Children and Families. It is also part of the Government’s national strategy on curbing abuse against children.

It has been agreed, in many quarters in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that there is need for a single reporting mechanism, a protocol, to enhance the existing legal framework for reporting cases of child abuse. {{more}}

The launch of this Protocol provides an opportunity to raise awareness of the child’s right to be protected. Too many of our children are abused under the guise of discipline. Parents, teachers, care givers and others who provide support for our children need to understand the significant difference between discipline and abuse. Over the years, the Ministry of National Mobilisation, in collaboration with UNICEF, and its local partners has concentrated on providing education and training to promote child rights and responsibilities. However, we are aware that abuse of our children will not stop overnight, but as a start, children must have a safe environment and support system. Therefore, when children experience violence/abuse we need to ensure that the child knows/understands that there are social and legal services to support him/her.

At the moment, most cases of child abuse go unrecorded mainly because we are not trained to detect these abuses or we are the ones inflicting the abuse. If we are to succeed in putting an end to violence against children, we need to be better informed of its impact. This means that we need to report cases of child abuse. The culture of impunity has to end. Perpetrators of violence against children must be held accountable and brought to justice. We need to create accessible and child friendly reporting systems to ensure that abuses are dealt with. Therefore, the success of this protocol rests with all of us present here.

After today’s launch there will be a series of training programmes to help prepare teachers, parents and other care givers to use the protocol effectively.

Let us work together to ensure that this document is used nationally and that it does not become another book to be put on our shelves. I once again welcome you and wish this launch every success.