The Ministry of Social Protection, Child Care and Protection Agency, received over 900 reported cases of abuse for this year. Of those, 471 were cases of neglect, and 193 sexual abuse cases. The sexual abuse cases were referred to One Stop Centres.
One Stop Centres give children, who are victims of sexual abuse, an opportunity to tell their story only once. They do so in the presence of investigators, counselors, prosecutors and welfare officers. The Centres are intended to deliver programmes to children and families affected by trauma due to sexual abuse.
During an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Director, Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene, explained that the most reported cases of abuse is neglect, followed by sexual abuse. She noted that the number of cases of abuse is a pattern which does not differ when compared to previous years. However, the one stop facility has been very effective in dealing with those cases.
“Victims of sexual abuse, sometimes they have to tell the pain and hurt so many times, so we really try to allow the children to only get to tell it one time, so we allow this multidisciplinary team …so we will record it and whoever needs to see it two three to four times, they will have the opportunity to do that,” Greene explained.
The Centres also provide services such as forensic interviews, crisis intervention, counseling, trauma focused therapy, parenting sessions, child and family advocacy and education and prevention activities.
There are five One Stop Centres in operation across the country. These are being manned by two Non-Governmental Organisation, Child Link and Blossom Inc. The Centres also work closely with the doctors who examine the children in cases of sexual abuse.
The EU has been supporting Child Link by providing critical resources for their centres. Three more Centres will be established in Regions Six, Seven and Ten by the Ministry in collaboration with UNICEF.