|Reported child abuse cases down|
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Sep 19, 2012
The number of reported child abuse cases has decreased this year compared to the same period last year, Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin revealed yesterday.
According to Griffin, from January to August this year there were 235 reported cases of child abuse in New Providence.
While she did not have the figure for that period in 2011, statistics show that 547 cases of child abuse were reported in New Providence during the entire year.
Griffin spoke during a meeting with the Child Protection Council at the Ministry of Social Services.
An additional 89 cases were reported in the Family Islands in 2011, according to statistics.
In total, there were 636 reported cases of child abuse in the country last year.
There were 141 reported cases of physical abuse; 11 reported cases of verbal abuse; 10 reported cases of emotional abuse; 11 reported cases of incest; 254 reported cases of neglect and 10 reported cases of abandonment.
In 2010, there were 615 reported cases of child abuse. The Department of Social Services said 499 were reported in New Providence and 116 in the Family Islands.
While the number of reported cases have dipped, Griffin said those cases only represent about one third of the estimated number of cases of child abuse in the country. She said most cases go unnoticed or unreported.
“This is all indicative of what is happening in our society where we find a lot of families who are unable to provide for their basic needs,” she said.
“And most times when these things happen, you have the most vulnerable among them, the children and elderly, who are feeling the impact.”
Sending a plea to parents and guardians, Griffin said, “Please, before you neglect your child, it is better for you to come into Social Services and let us offer you some assistance.
“That doesn’t just mean giving out assistance, like food, etc, but there are so many other areas we can help you with like counselling, guiding and giving advice on how you can better take care of your family in these difficult times.”
The minister encouraged residents to report all cases of child abuse.
“The [callers are] not required to identify themselves, but if they do, their [identities are] kept confidential.
“I invite the public to join us in our ongoing campaign to eradicate child abuse which has a negative effect on a child’s self esteem and self worth.”
To report child abuse cases, members of the public are asked to call 322-2763 or 422-2763.
Pastor Gil Maycock, chairman of the Child Protection Council, announced yesterday that the council will erect panel boards across New Providence with the message “every child matters” and that child abused must not be tolerated.
This is one of the initiatives the council has planned in a bid to raise awareness about child abuse.