A call has been made for the public to assist in reducing child abuse and child sexual abuse which the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) said are on the increase.
Child Care &Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene
Director of the agency, Ann Greene said that there should be no reported cases of child abuse and it is time to put an end to this act.
Greene explained that a report from January to July 2016 shows that in Guyana there were 2,238 reports of child abuse, “that includes all forms of abuse and sexual abuse” and 441 cases of sexual abuse. “It really is too much, no child should be abused,” Greene said.
The CPA Director, who was speaking at the Child Protection Week Rally in Linden on Wednesday, expounded that the figures only represent the reported crimes. She said that there are many unreported ones that should also be revealed. “This silence of childhood sexual abuse is what protects the abuser and enables the abuse to continue, so parents, caregivers and all, I want you to know that children who are being sexually abused are silent children, but you have to see the signs,” Greene urged.
Deputy Commander of ‘E Division’, Alistair Roberts
Meanwhile, Senior Child Protection Officer, Tionna October explained that CPA has been working diligently with the police to penalise perpetrators. “Even though we submit our statements, and we complete that aspect and do the medical, when it goes to the police they have to do another one, and sometimes when it goes to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) she sends back for forensic interview,” October explained.
October pointed out that this makes it difficult for perpetrators to be dealt with accordingly. She explained that most times when perpetrators are released after the 72- hour period, they abscond to Suriname or elsewhere and, “when the files come back for you to prosecute them, you can’t locate them.”
Senior Child Protection Officer, Tionna October
However, October said that does not hinder the CPA from providing the necessary help to the victims. “We’re actually providing for the children especially the victims, we have a group counsel session once a week and we’re supposed to be having an empowerment teenage pregnancy programme (which) should be starting next month so that would be six weeks, so we’re trying to help the girls and the boys who are sexually molested.”
Additionally, Deputy Commander of ‘E’ Division, Alistair Roberts said the Guyana Police Force is committed to working with the various non-governmental and governmental organisations to eradicate child abuse countrywide.