Media called upon to be an advocate for abused children

Morvan thinks the media has a role to play in combating child abuse
Morvan thinks the media has a role to play in combating child abuse

“The media should play a greater role as advocates for children.”

This is a statement by Acting Chief Welfare Officer, Leroy Morvan, at Media Practitioner workshop on child abuse earlier this week.

“Advocacy for and on behalf of children should not be limited to highlighting in the media a news story about a child which has caused national attention,” he noted.

According to him advocacy should be “all encompassing with a focus on critical issues affecting children.”

Morvan warned that media practitioners should always be mindful of what should and should not be reported when it comes to sexual related matters involving children.

“While there is a duty to report, one should not allow sensationalization to override the best interest of the child,” he stated. “Once stigmatized, a child who is already victimized and traumatized, could have a tarnished image for the rest of his or her life.”

He stated that “some self examination” is needed by the media in Dominica “as to whether a more proactive role should be taken on the issue of being advocates for children.”

Meanwhile Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Social Services, Family and Gender Affairs, Sylvanie Burton, said the workshop is an important step towards child protection in Dominica.

“This workshop is timely as on a monthly basis we see the increase in the incidence of child abuse cases in our society,” she said. “Clearly the problem of child violence does not affect only Dominica. It is a worldwide phenomena whose impact is enormous, hindering the healthy development of millions of children across the world and as such it requires partnerships, solidarity and building of alliances such as the media.”

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5 Comments

  1. March 6, 2015

    If a newspaper honestly wants to advocate for children they can do much more than just report cases of abuse and cover the trials without giving the names of the alleged victims.

    We have heard of cases going unreported to the police.

    Even more difficult to understand is the fact that we have heard of cases being reported to the police that have never gone to court.

    We have heard of cases where it seemed it was the victim that was on trial with unbecoming and unrelated questions being asked about her (or his) personal life.

    These are situations a good newspaper should be all over.

    But there is another way a newspaper could help. We need to see newspaper articles written by qualified people dispensing information about what to look for when it comes to signs of abuse to help parents, teachers, social workers, and foster care case workers and others identify victims, and how to proceed with reporting the situation to the police.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill…

  2. March 6, 2015

    Sylvanie Burton has rightly said the problem of child abuse is a worldwide phenomena affecting millions across the world. We are not exempt in my country (Canada) and the wisdom shared by DNO can benefit us here as well. There are parts of Canada where the situation is no better than in Dominica.

    Acting Chief Welfare Officer Leroy Morvan has said the media should play a greater role as advocates for children. This a exactly what I have felt for a long time. Unfortunately many editors serving the secular press do not see this as part of their mandate. They publish news the people want in order to increase their readership and sell advertising with no evident concern for the tremendous power they could be for God and good in their communities.

    There are agencies and organizations are advocating for abused children. But they will not succeed until they can get the media – especially the press – on board with them.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

  3. Royie
    March 5, 2015

    The Media is too bias. A letter was sent out to DNO during the case of the accused priest stating that more victims had come forward and the letter was never published. In the beginning the media spent much of its time publishing about the accusation. No thought is yet to be given to the victims by the media or the church. There must be a reason why there was no appeal from the accuser, yet nothing from the media. We need to stop pointing fingers at the victims and focus on how we can stop the abusers.

  4. Jamie
    March 5, 2015

    Look at how the media handled the case of the accused catholic priest in grand bay. They sensationalized this so much, even bringing live coverage of the protest. No thought was given to potential victims. Any child who is a victim of abuse would be afraid to come out and say anything after they saw how this was portrayed in the media. Thats a shame.

    • March 6, 2015

      Jamie:

      You have made a good point. In the past news article about sexual abuse have not always been in good taste. Errors and omissions have created problems.

      In all such reporting wisdom must be used in the way it is done but this must not be an excuse for NOT reporting cases of abuse. We (the readers) have a right to expect reporters and editors to use common sense.

      Personally, I and many others believe:

      (1) Cases of abuse SHOULD be reported by the media. Gossip does more harm than an official factual report in a newspaper that must measure up to the accepted standards of journalism.

      (2) The media should cover the TRIALS. The tax payers have a right to know the police and the courts are doing what they are being paid to do. If the accused is cleared in a court of law it is important for the public to know this.

      (3) The names of the victims in cases of sexual assault should NOT be given out by the media.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. International Evangelist.

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