Blaine calls for investigation into guidance counsellors claims


January 13, 2016
Betty Ann Blaine

Jamaica's foremost advocacy group for children, Hear The Children's Cry, is calling on the minister of education to immediately commence an investigation into allegations that there are children being turned away by guidance counsellors because of their sexual orientation.

This follows a report in The Jamaica Gleaner published on Monday, January 11, in which the newly appointed head of the Jamaica Association for Guidance Counsellors in Education, Nina Dixon, was quoted as saying that children were being shunned by guidance counsellors because of their sexual orientation.

"In my 32 years as a children's advocate, I have never heard of a case in which a child was turned away by a guidance counsellor because the counsellor was in some way afraid of the ramifications of the law - whichever one in question. What is probably more typical is the problem of underreporting of cases involving abuse and neglect of children, but never a case where the child is turned away," founder of lobby group Hear the Children's Cry, Betty Ann Blaine said.

impartial investigation

Blaine noted that in most instances, children go to their guidance counsellors for issues relating to abuse, neglect, and finances.

She is calling on the minister of education to launch a full and impartial investigation to ascertain the validity and scope of the allegation.

"We are calling on the head of the Guidance Counsellors Association, Nina Dixon, to provide all the information that she has regarding the specific number of children and the type of cases that were presented to her. We are aware that some of the information will have to be treated confidentially because of the status of the children, however, it is important for Jamaicans to know how widespread this problem is and what must be done to protect the children," she said.

Blaine said that she was especially concerned about cases where children are sexually molested by both heterosexuals and homosexuals, particularly cases that involve VIPs in the society.

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