NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has intensified its efforts to fight child abuse in The Bahamas after seeing a nearly 10 percent increase in reported cases in 2018 compared to the previous year, according to Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell.
Campbell made the comments on Saturday, following a joint “Universal Children’s Healthy Lifestyle Seminar” with Urban Renewal and the Pan American Health Organization, in celebration of the Universal Day of the Child.
“The government by extension is concerned, even if the number is one,” he said.
“That said, in light of numbers that we said last year we intensified our partnerships with the various non-governmental organizations.
“We collaborated more with our government agencies. You would have seen come on stream MARCO’s alert.
“The National Child Protection Council would have launched its ‘Stranger Danger program’.
“We have had the Crime Prevention Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force along with the Drug Enforcement Unit, going out there intensifying their efforts to ensure that children get the message that is necessary for them to participate in their safety.
“And we have done our best to ensure that parents and guardians and persons responsible also take seriously their responsibility for keeping our children safe.”
According to statistics released by social services in March, there were 627 child abuse cases reported in 2018, 570 cases in 2017, 647 in 2016 and 598 in 2015.
As the government continued its series of events surrounding the Universal Day of the Child, Campbell said, “We thought it important not just to celebrate but to ensure that the significance of the day is taught to the children, is brought to them in a real way.
“For example, I would have indicated growing up that that children ought to be seen and not heard.
“One of those rights in that convention is the right of the child to be heard, and if we as adults respect that right and we promote that right among our children, we might think it more important to listen to them when they come to us with a complaint.
“When they suggest that something wrong may have been done or said to them, we would give them the listening ear that they deserve.”
Campbell added that the seminar was conducted to also education children on their right to an education, their right to a healthy lifestyle, their right to be protected.
“We went a little further in informing them that along with rights come responsibilities,” he continued.
“And so we want them to take responsibility for themselves and their safety, responsibility for each other and to exercise respect for the rights of others.”