by Donella Hosten
The issue of child abuse has always been plaguing Grenada. However, in recent times, there has been an increase in the number of reported cases, and the Child Protection Authority (CPA) has collaborated with other stakeholders to alleviate the issue.
Chairman of the CPA, Ann David-Antoine, during the launch of their project ‘All Against Child Abuse’ (AACA), assured the gathering of students that this project will be a focal point. She confirmed that the CPA is mandated to ensure that ‘all our children live as children and have happy lives.’
AACA is a psycho educational project aimed at eradicating child abuse through the conducting of a robust information education campaign. The campaign hopes to improve the knowledge base and parenting skills of parents and guardians in particular, and the wider community in general thus enabling positive behaviour changes.
Students, teachers and parents were reminded that they have a responsibility to look out for the nation’s children and report any cases of child abuse. “Action is not just about reporting, action is about supporting families, supporting vulnerable children…”, and every child in Grenada needs to be protected. The CPA and its stakeholders will be rethinking their strategies to enable the much-needed positive change.
This is a national issue, and, according to David-Antoine, “the consequences of abuse are too numerous to mention at this time,” as it’s not just about a child losing their sense of self, dignity, but it’s about the entire livelihood of that child.
Representing the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) on the CPA, Inspector Sylvan Mc Intyre said, “My presence here represents the importance of the RGPF in the fight against abuse.”
Mc Intyre reassured that the force will do all that is necessary to stop perpetrators against the nation’s children. “This kind of abuse must not be permitted to continue in our country.”
He also used the opportunity to send a stern warning to the perpetrators. “Those of you who find it necessary to abuse our children, know that the RGPF has message for you: we will find you wherever you are!”
Prior to the unveiling of the AACA Banner, Hon Delma Thomas, Minister for Social Development, gave brief remarks. Speaking to the issue at hand, she stated that this is indeed a ‘real issue that demands real solutions,’ and ‘as a government we are committing to doing what it takes to prevent the issue of child sexual abuse.’ Therefore, the government will be taking bolder steps and more funding will be allocated to the cause in the 2018 Budget.
Minister Thomas called on the Conference of Churches, NGOs and other stakeholders to assist with the alleviation of child abuse. She urged parents to report the matters, and not take compensation. “As a community, we have the responsibility to protect our children from all forms of abuse,” she said.
The event was attended by students from different schools in the parish of St George, police officers, prison officers and NGOs. After the launch, the participants marched in solidarity for the cause from Tanteen Playing Field, onto the Carenage, through Scott Street, HA Blaize Street and back to Tanteen.