There were more than 300 reported cases of child abuse in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in 2017, Director of the Child Development Division, Jemma Alexander told a press briefing in Kingstown on Monday.

“Of these reported cases, 20 per cent were sexual abuse, 37 per cent were physical and emotional abuse and 43 per cent were cases of neglect,” she told the launch of National Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month of activities 2018, which will be held under the theme “Every Child Safe, Every Community Awake!”

Alexander said: “From the data collected, girls were victimised more often than boys at 63 per cent and over 53 per cent of child abuse and neglect were in children younger than 12 years of age. Even more alarming there was a significant increase in reported cases of sexual abuse.” Alexander highlighted a particular challenge in the department: the shortage of volunteers to become foster parents.

This, she said, has become more challenging over the years, especially, for differently abled children.

To address this situation, the department will host a foster care recruitment drive later this month. She appealed to individuals to become foster parents.

She explained that the month is dedicated to encourage individuals and communities to support children and families while preventing abuse.

“Child abuse and child neglect is a major social problem that exists in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and continue to threaten the lives and health of our nation’s children,” she said.

Alexander said that the national child abuse awareness and prevention month is not a celebration, “but is an on-going public education campaign to encourage persons in society to acknowledge the prevalence of child abuse and providing information on how to respond and where to access services to help both victims and perpetrators”.

2 replies on “300 child abuse cases reported in SVG in 2017”

  1. Agustus Carr says:

    That’s a lot of juvenile cases. How much domestic violence cases do we have, perhaps 1,000? Sometimes I think the Police has flaunt its responsibility to deal with domestic violence and abuse on a whole. I remember as a young cop the general response was that if the report involved a husband and wife there was nothing you can do. I thought that was proposterous. Of course their is something you can do. Once a crime has been committed you must charge which ever party is culpable.

    I know there has been some legislative reform, which is very good. This many reports shoqs there is confidence in the Police to deal with these matters. However, I think a decentralize response is lacking. The police must come to a point where all of the Police stations have the capacity, resources and expertise to investigate all serious and major crimes. There must be a zero tolerance on child and domestic abuse. Twenty percent (20%) of your Police Force (CID) can’t investigate 60% of your crime. That’s a wrong formula that we have inherited from the British.

    This is why it is important to train every police officer to recognize and deal with every case of domestic violence and child abuse. No matter how minor it is. We have bad reputation internationally. Let’s try to clean it up and in so doing let’s preserve the dignity of the victims of domestic and child abuse.

  2. C. Ben-David says:

    “Reported cases of sexual abuse” are not the same as actual cases of sexual abuse. There is no evidence to show that this heinous crime has increased over the years and much anecdotal evidence that physical abuse — the beating of children — has gone down over recent decades.

    It is imperative that children be empowered to report such abuse to others — neighbours, friends, teachers, and the police — with such empowerment encouraged by the various media and the education system.

    Silence is the best friend of the abuse of children.

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