Hundreds of JPs sensitised about child abuse

July 20, 2021
Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

More than 400 Justices of the Peace (JPs) across the island participated in a virtual sensitisation discussion on Child Abuse in Jamaica, on July 15.

It was hosted by the Minister of Justice, Delroy Chuck, to strengthen the capacity of the JPs to provide access to justice information within communities and the wider public.

Chief Executive Officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), Rosalee Gage Grey, who addressed the JPs, said “deep social protection requires a wide cross section of collaboration”.

“In addressing issues, to have children removed from the streets, we felt like we needed the data that would look at the root causes, look at the push and pull factors and, therefore, we would be able to design strategies that are multifaceted to addressing these issues,” she said.

Based on a study conducted by the CPFSA, 413 questionnaires were administered across nine parishes that showed the major push and pull factors for children who work and live on the streets to be consumption poverty and the potential for quick monetary gains.

These children, according to the study, are between the ages of 12 and 13 with 94 per cent of them returning home after working on the streets.

“The study also shows that they tend to come out on the streets after school hours, the majority of them are registered and are attending school,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, urged the JPs to remember the rights of children, according to the Child Care and Protection Act.

Against that backdrop, she said reports on child abuse must be given in good faith and handled in confidentiality.

According to the Act, State parties recognise that every child has the inherent right to life and shall ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the survival and development of the child.

Gordon Harrison encouraged the use of the toll-free Child and Adolescent hotline: 888-SAFESPOT (888-723-7768), sending a WhatsApp message to 876-439-5199, or a direct message via Instagram or Snapchat to @safespotja to make a report of Child Abuse.

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