Coalition takes aim at child sexual abuse

sex abuseDue to the continuous trend of increasing cases of child sexual abuse in Dominica several Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) have joined forces to advocate for Dominica’s children and youth as The Dominica NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth.

The Coalition will officially launch its umbrella organisation on Wednesday June 11th at the Public Service Union Building.

The Dominica NGO Coalition envisions a Dominica where children and youth are free from all forms of violence and exploitation.

Its mission is to unite registered NGOs committed to the protection of Children & Youth in Dominica mainly through advocacy.

Arms of the umbrella organization will include:

• Champions for survivors
-to act as a portal for support services for survivors of violence
• Protectors of the Innocent
-beam the spotlight on issues of good and bad practice
• Seekers of Justice
-promote legislative reform and enforcement
• Raisers of awareness
-ensure the education of the public masses on issues of child protection

In March 2014, the Coalition called on policy makers to set the mandate that all public service employees and child care institutions / services sign and adhere to child protection and ethical behavior policies that hold them accountable to the most serious consequences as an essential condition of employment.

Over 490 child sexual abuse cases were reported in Dominica between 2009 and 2012. The predominant types of child sexual abuse in Dominica are incest; exploitative sexual acts between adult men and under-aged boys; with the predominant activities being unlawful carnal knowledge, touching and fondling, oral sex, anal sex and viewing of pornographic material.

Members of the Dominica NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth include the Dominica National Council of Women, the Caribbean Male Action Network (CARIMAN), ChildFund Caribbean, Lifeline Ministries, Dominica Planned Parenthood Association, The National Youth Council, AGANAR, Dominica Olympic Committee, West Dominica Children’s Federation, East Dominica Children’s Federation among a few others.

The launch begins at 10:00 am and Other registered NGOs are invited to join the conference launch and the Coalition.

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18 Comments

  1. June 11, 2014

    Exactly :!:

    There are two problems that must be faced.

    (1) Some people make an accusation but before charges can be laid or prosecuted they recant and say it didn’t happen. Apart from the few who made false charges and recanted there are those who back off because they were intimidated or threatened.

    (2) There times when a charge is laid but the police proceed no further. The paper work seems to get pushed to the back of the desk so to speak. This can happen because the police don’t have enough evidence to proceed OR
    are overworked, OR are simply negligent.

    One way the Coalition or one of its member groups can contribute is to jump on the case and inquire as to its status.
    Find out WHY it has not gone to court. Unfortunately, sloppy police work sometimes results in a lack of sufficient evidence. The police like the rest of us :-x usually perform best when they know they will be held accountable by people who genuinely care. Ask WHEN you can expect it to be prosecuted. Get the information. Pass it on to your local newspaper.

    The matter is far too serious to let the paper work get lost in the shuffle. There must be those who are willing to kick butt 8) and move the case along.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

  2. Sometimes-ish
    June 11, 2014

    Dominicans are a set of talk talk talk and no action………………..

  3. June 10, 2014

    This is a serious problem in other countries including my own (Canada). I am addressing my comments to Canadians who read DNO as well as Dominicans in their homeland, and thank DNO Administration for the opportunity to do so.

    Often the first step towards combatting a social evil is to organize. It is encouraging to see this being done as a coalition comes together with like minded organizations forming its membership.

    I would like to share a few thoughts that could potentially be useful.

    No entity is better positioned to help protect the children than the schools. Teachers can watch for signs of abuse. School boards could have a licensed psychologist or mental health professional brief the teachers on what to look for.

    (a) Children need to be taught in school to be “street smart”; not to get in a vehicle with somebody they don’t know or even go to the door of a vehicle if somebody they don’t know calls them; and not to go anyplace with a stranger. This includes going to somebody’s home without their parent’s permission, and this includes a teacher’s home.

    (b) Children should be taught to report any improper touching, fondling, or picture taking.

    (c) There should be at least one trusted person in every school that the children know they can talk to if they are troubled about any of these things. It could be a designated teacher, the principal, school nurse, or a guidance counselor.

    Many cases of abuse are caused by somebody the child knows and should be able to trust. Children in school should be informed that wherever the abuse happens (at home, at church, at school, or in the neighborhood) they can talk to that special person at the school.

    Parents should be careful who they allow to babysit their children. Experience has taught us that single Mums need to be careful of boyfriends who use their relationship to spend time alone with one (or more) of her kids. It is not every man parents should let their children play games with or take on camping trips.

    When I was a teenager there was this middle aged man in town. His thing was baseball. He could be seen frequently in the park playing ball with the boys. No doubt quite a few parents thought it was wonderful the interest this older man took in their boys. Unfortunately the boys knew his real interest only too well.

    If a child reports an incident to you please don’t give him or her any reason to think you don’t believe the story. Children rarely make these stories up. On the contrary, many cases of abuse go unreported because children are ashamed or afraid to tell anybody. Listen quietly. Ask only what you must to get the basic information. Report it to the police immediately. Do not let anybody discourage you from doing this.

    If the accused happens to be a priest or pastor you do not need permission from the bishop to report the incident to the police. It is a police matter and it is your duty to turn it over to them. Catholic bishops will sometimes promise to “take care of it” and ask you not to report it to the police. Don’t give them a chance to intimidate you. It is a legal matter. Report it to the police and again I say, do it ASAP.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

  4. stop it
    June 10, 2014

    it will continue till the law find it teeth at present mention is made of government official involvement.

  5. Anonymous
    June 10, 2014

    So tell me, good people, will curbing verbal abuse of children on your agenda? Or will you elect to leave that one out lest it be considered political to intervene? I will be waiting…………

    • Anonymous
      June 11, 2014

      All types of abuse will be addressed , thanks for your concern

  6. Fair and Balance
    June 10, 2014

    While I appreciate the effort of this coalition, I must say that groups of this sort are usually formed in countries where the citizens feel that both their elected leaders and the police department have failed to secure their children, and that to me is very alarming. While I applaud them and I believe many will applaud them as well, it is a serious cause of concern to any normal thinking person.

    • smell a rat ta tat
      June 11, 2014

      You seem to imply that only government authorities should try to prevent or respond to child sexual abuse and only if they fail citizens should act. That perspective needs rethinking.

      • June 11, 2014

        Allow me to wade in again.

        Thanks to the internet I know that child sexual abuse is on the rise in various nations. It happens on many levels: in homes, churches, schools, parks, camps, and on playgrounds. If the “authorities” are doing their best IT IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH otherwise we would not be seeing the increase we are seeing! Note: We have stats that show sexual child abuse is not levelling off. It is actually increasing! Anybody who registers brain waves should know by this that something more needs to be done.

        The failure of the police is not always their fault. It is due to a lack of co-operation from the public especially from those who could do more to educate the kids OR fail to report cases.

        The problem is complex. There are many issue that need to be addressed. There is much that can be done by the coalition and its member organizations that will not be done by the police alone mainly because they have neither the man power nor the time.

        The various organizations that join the coalition by their very nature will draw to themselves willing workers who have expertise in the special areas where help is needed.

        No reasonable police officer is going to feel threatened by their contributions. On the contrary knowledgeable law enforcement people will be glad to have them aboard. This is one of the greatest evils of the twenty first century. Every able law abiding man and woman in the country should be recruited to help bring in those responsible for harming these children.

        Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

    • June 16, 2014

      It is difficult to know where the breakdown is.

      Some think it is poorly trained or unmotivated police.

      Others feel it is bleeding heart judges who are too willing to give the accused the benefit of he doubt and dismiss the case.

      I expect in some places both these situations can sometimes be blamed. But this is only a small part of he problem. It is something that involves a much greater part of society.

      School teachers, nurses, and all who work closely with children must be trained to recognize signs of abuse and know who to report it to.

      I do not know what the laws are in Dominica regarding this but there should be a law that requires anybody learning of a sexual child abuse situation or even what seems to be such a situation to report it to the police immediately. Not to do so should be a criminal offence in itself.

      There is a failure on the part of responsible people to believe children when they say they have been molested, and a failure to report such stories to the police ASAP. Children rarely make up these stories. Many cases do not get reported because the children are ashamed or afraid. Some have been intimidated or threatened. They need to be given all the support in the world while they are lovingly questioned.

      It is time to recruit the general public.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

  7. smh
    June 10, 2014

    how will this lower the number of cases? this is all after the fact stuff.

    • June 10, 2014

      Hopefully the most important stuff they will do will be in the area of prevention.

      The abusers can be brought to justice if everybody does their part. If this is done right a certain amount of future abuse can be avoided.

      However, the trauma of abuse can last a lifetime. Getting victims to come forward, and providing professional counseling early can relieve a tremendous amount of emotional suffering. It can prevent alcohol and drug use, and even suicides later in life. Unfortunately, we have seen all these problems later in the lives of victims here in Canada when they were not properly treated early.

      It is too late to undo what has already happened. But thank God for a coalition that is coming together to do something in the NOW of history! This organization and its member groups deserve full support. They can make a difference.
      And you the public have the power to make it happen by your prayers, by volunteering your time, and by your financial contributions.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

  8. roots/da
    June 10, 2014

    Indeed a timely and welcome move to all concerned ; though victims and possible victims will be the primary focus and that perpetrators be punished by law deserveingly , it’s a fact that some of the aged and young men within the various communities do need help desperately concerning this issue . Above all , it’s a wonderful move by you ” the Coalition ” coming together at this time – the right time , and it’s needed. Congratulations !

  9. madamme Butterfly
    June 10, 2014

    This is good news. we need to get work done.

  10. Fair and Balance
    June 10, 2014

    I congratulate the Coalition for making themselves available to the children and young of Dominica at this time. However, it is my opinion that in order for them to be successful and respected, they definitely need to push to ensure that all reports made to the police and other leading groups and trusted individuals are thoroughly investigated, regardless of whether the victim wants to proceed with legal action or not, and regardless of the office or position of the alleged person (s). We must start somewhere.

    • June 11, 2014

      Exactly :!:

      There are two problems that must be faced.

      (1) Some people make an accusation but before charges can be laid or prosecuted they recant and say it didn’t happen. Apart from the few who made false charges and recanted there are those who back off because they were intimidated or threatened.

      (2) There times when a charge is laid but the police proceed no further. The paper work seems to get pushed to the back of the desk so to speak. This can happen because the police don’t have enough evidence to proceed OR
      are overworked, OR are simply negligent.

      One way the Coalition or one of its member groups can contribute is to jump on the case and inquire as to its status.
      Find out WHY it has not gone to court. Unfortunately, sloppy police work sometimes results in a lack of sufficient evidence. The police like the rest of us :-x usually perform best when they know they will be held accountable by people who genuinely care. Ask WHEN you can expect it to be prosecuted. Get the information. Pass it on to your local newspaper.

      The matter is far too serious to let the paper work get lost in the shuffle. There must be those who are willing to kick butt 8) and move the case along.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

    • Browne,C (Rastafari)
      June 11, 2014

      Trust and Police don’t fit well in the same sentence in Dominica.

      • June 30, 2014

        At the risk of having DNO cut me off, and cast me into outer darkness, I am going to once again say the following:

        Most of us do a better job if we know we have to answer to somebody. The police and the judges are no different. It is the duty of the media to provide the information the citizens need to hold these important people to account.

        I am referring to what happens in parts of Canada and the USA as well as Dominica and the Caribbean. I have no reason to think Dominica is any worse than Canada. Dominicans living in Canada are qualified to make that comparison. I am not.

        When an arrest is made and charges are laid the people want to know. When a date is set for a trial the people want to know. If a verdict is reached the people want to know. If and when a verdict is handed down the people want to know what it is.

        There would be fewer horrific cases lost in the paperwork if the authorities knew there was a competent journalist following the case and the public would receive a blow by blow report until the verdict was handed down.

        It is the citizens who are paying the salaries of the police, the judges, and all the court expenses. All of you know the people who pay your salaries have a right to know if you are doing your jobs, and to evaluate how well you do them.

        The people are depending on the justice system to keep criminals off the streets. They want to know that the communities are safe for their families. This means knowing that child molesters and rapists are charged and tried.

        We are hearing of the police being called. They come and write the report. Time and again the public looses the story at this point. People don’t know if the case even goes to court.

        Is it too much to expect the newspapers to put their best reporters on these cases? Once a reporter is assigned to one of these cases he (she) should have it in steel trap like jaws. Shake it and don’t let go of it until the front page screams out the verdict. If the case does not go to court in a reasonable time the public deserves to know why. Again, if the punishment does not fit the crime the public should know enough to judge for themselves what went wrong.

        I appeal to newspaper people to put pressure on the police AND the courts to move these cases through the justice system. Do not under estimate the power of public opinion. It turns the wheels of democracy.

        Rev. Donald Hill. D.D. International Evangelist.

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