by Donella Hosten
The month of April is designated as Child Protection Awareness Month, and the Grenada National Coalition for the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) is continuing to make efforts to protect the nation’s children.
The GNCRC is an advocacy organisation that is driven by their commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) which requires countries to do what is in the best interest of the child.
GNCRC’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Milton Coy, in a Press Conference on 3 April 2017, said: “the spotlight is once again speaking out against this societal scourge plaguing our communities-child abuse.” He went on to mention that child abuse refers to any harm, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, financial or psychological; which can negatively impact children.
The issue of child abuse needs urgent attention, and the GNCRC is not prepared to accept it, as “children are valuable to any society [and] we need to protect them.” Coy said children are being subjected to abuse in the homes, schools and penal system, and the GNCRC is calling “for comprehensive and legislative protection for our children.”
Mrs Alva Lawrence, Chairperson of the GNCRC, reminded the public that the issue of child sexual abuse is real, and “the numbers are very alarming and a cause for concern.” She raised the concern of perpetrators receiving effective treatment and stiffer penalties to reduce re-occurrence of child abuse incidences.
With the focus this year being on Child Sexual Abuse, under the theme “Child Abuse Hurts — Stop it Now”, the GNCRC is partnering with a number of institutions and stakeholders including the Ministry of Social Development.
Social Worker attached to the Ministry of Social Development, Mrs Chrissy Worme–Charles, commented on the emotional aspect of child abuse. She said, “studies have shown that emotional abuse may be deemed as one of the worst forms of abuse, because the scars are not visible.”
Mrs Worme–Charles noted that there are residual effects of abuse and the Ministry of Social Development offers programmes to assist. She made mention of their Parenting Programme, which focuses on preparing parents and teaching them how to deal with surfacing problems.