Child Sexual Abuse gets keen attention at strategic workshop

Any case of child sexual abuse is one too many. This notion was emphasised yesterday when the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) collaborated with Child Link to conduct a ‘Child Sexual Abuse’ workshop.
The workshop, which commenced yesterday at the Camp Street, Georgetown Police Training Centre, will continue until tomorrow by which time the specially targeted participants will be furnished with information to help make a difference.
Speaking at the opening of the workshop yesterday was Dr. Oneka Scott who represented Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton.
Dr Scott emphasised yesterday that the Ministry’s stance when it comes to child sexual abuse is in fact a straightforward one. “We have a zero tolerance approach,” she categorically asserted.
But the situation has been one that has impacted society from time immemorial. “Throughout the ages child abuse has been a problem, whether or not we have recognised it outright, whether or not it has been cultural to sweep it under the rug or whether we have had advocacy on all levels to stop it,” Dr. Scott noted.
She noted that while reports and stories of child abuse have plagued the society for some time now and the most common forms can be addressed by a multi-sectoral approach “we have to really be on the awareness side of it because there are a lot of forms of it in the Latin America and Caribbean territories that are not that out rightly recognised.”
Dr. Scott highlighted the Situational Analysis on Women and Children 2002-2012 done by UNICEF. The Analysis, she said, showed that 5.5 percent of girls married before the age of 15.
She questioned, “Is that a form of sexual abuse or do we just attribute it to cultural norms, or to religion? We say ‘oh that’s normal, it is something that is common in a particular religion’…What about the rights of these girls to education? Was that right violated by their early marriage?”
But since the Ministry of Public Health recognises that health across the life cycle is important, Dr. Scott noted that that all forms of child abuse, including sexual abuse, needs to be looked at with haste. However, she considered that the Public Health Ministry, the GPHC, the Ministry of Education and Social Services cannot do it without support from other crucial organisations. “There has been a call for a multi-sectoral approach…because we need not forget those populations that are most vulnerable, those that are most at risk and those are the populations in the interior locations…” said Dr Scott as she added “we have deemed it, stamped it, branded it as a norm; it is a culture….it can no longer be accepted.”
Also addressing the opening of the workshop yesterday was Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), Leslyn Halley, who assured yesterday that a lot of work has been done to improve the quality of services offered to victims of sexual abuse.
She said that there currently exists a multi-disciplinary approach which serves to ensure that less trauma is placed on the victim at the point of investigation. “Communication is far better since every agency is a call away…we have that friendship, to get services to the victim much faster through paper than going through the lines of every other service…and since we have the same goals we try our best to work together,” ASP Halley underscored.
Ms. Telecia Williams, a lawyer attached to the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA), also delivered a presentation yesterday on the rights of the child and the law and legal issues surrounding child sexual abuse cases.
The workshop, which represented an inaugural collaboration between GPHC and Childlink, was convened with the intent to provide training for all levels of personnel involved in the care of investigation and prosecution of cases of Child Sexual Abuse.
It materialised with support from a number of organisations including Industrial Safety and Supplies Inc., Johnson Maede and Bhena’s Footwear.
The workshop was organised by Dr Marisa Seepersaud, Head of Paediatric Surgery at the GPHC and Ms. Kaiesha Perry, of Childlink.
According to Dr. Seepersaud, it is expected that the workshop would serve as a venue for colleagues in the CCPA, the Director of Public Prosecution Chambers, Social Workers and Doctors of the GPHC to give their unique perspective on child sexual abuse issues.
It is expected that they will seek to ensure that “we understand and appreciate each other’s role even as we cement our place in this fight for our children,” said Dr. Seepersaud yesterday as she added, “we are all in this together.”
Today the participants will benefit from a presentation on forensics which will be delivered by Dr. Carolyn Jackson, a Paediatric Surgeon who travelled from Jamaica to be a part of the workshop.(Kaieteur News)

Leave a Comment

Security Question * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

Powered by WordPress