UNICEF Regional Director Bernt Aasen

UNICEF Regional Director Bernt Aasen

United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director, Bernt Aasen, is calling on local communities on the island to step in and “break the silence” on child abuse.

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday evening, Aasen said that despite Dominica’s ground breaking policies in education, enough is not being done about violence and sexual abuse against children.

He pointed out that there is a Caribbean-wide initiative called “Breaking the Silence” where communities are encouraged to take a stance and refuse to accept acts of sexual abuse or violence against children.

“The sexual abuse of children and violence against children that are taking place inside the homes, will not be prevented until the communities engage, and whenever there is a suspicion, they should break the silence and speak out,” he said.

He noted that often times the perpetrators are often someone very well known by the families and abuse taking place in private homes is a public concern.

Aasen stressed that adults have the responsibility to speak out and take action.

“The new protocols that have been passed by cabinet recognise the problem and open it up for discussion that will help prevent abuse,” he stated.