The information circulated that a 10-year-old gave birth at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital recently is untrue, says Minister of National Mobilisation, Frederick Stephenson.
“In the last week or two, I saw on social media that there was a big upheaval of a 10-year-old child giving birth at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital. I want to make it abundantly clear that from all reports, from our Child Development Division and from our social welfare officer at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, there was no 10-year-old child who gave birth at the Milton Cato Hospital last week,” Stephenson told a press conference in Kingstown on Wednesday.
He said there was no confirmation either that a 10-year-old child had given birth any time recently.
“I say that clearly, and I want to also state that the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the Ministry of National Mobilisation, we do not condone any acts of violence, whether it be domestic violence, child abuse, neglect, any kind of abuse in St. Vincent and Grenadines. This ministry will not condone it…
“We have had the Break the Silence campaign in 2014 and at that campaign, at that launch, I remember saying to the crowd at the FLOW parking area, that we have an opportunity to speak out against violence in our society and we must break the silence.
“If you know that there are acts of violence being perpetrated against the children, the young people, persons with disabilities, the elderly, whoever and you see it, you have a responsibility to report it.”
The minister noted that the Domestic Violence Act states that a social workers, teacher, medical doctor, dentist, or any person who sees that a child is being abused in any way, has a responsibility to report it to the Child Development Division.
“Or you can come and report it to me and we set the standards for the reporting protocols to go in place,” Stephenson said.
“But one of the other things we have to do, we have to continue to speak to families because at the end of the day, when a child is being abused and a matter goes to court, a family member has to go to court and give the evidence. If they don’t go to the court and give the evidence, all that we do will come to naught.”
He noted that the Domestic Violence Act along with the police and the DPP’s office could be used to make sure that persons who abuse children are prosecuted.