Child abuse remains a major problem in Dominica with 157 cases, the majority sexual abuse, reported between January to September 2015.
Following a walk against child abuse on Saturday, Coordinator of Child Abuse Prevention Unit, Jemma Azille-Lewis, described the situation as “sad” and one that requires the assistance of everyone.
“In Dominica we continue to be faced with child abuse, it is a problem, it is something that we need to work against, it is something that we need to talk against,” she said.
She pointed out that in 2014 a total of 170 cases were reported and from January to September 2015, 157 cases have already been brought to the attention of the authorities. The majority of them are child sexual abuse, she noted.
“So that continues to be a problem,” Azille-Lewis noted. “Our children are continuing to be violated and violated by the persons whom they know and who they trust and it is sad to know that the persons that are supposed to be protecting the children are the ones who hurt the children.”
She noted that incest, physical abuse, and emotional abuse are worrying trends.
“We have a problem in Dominica where we see incest continues to be an issue where persons who are related to children violate them sexually,” she revealed. “We have the problem with physical abuse where often times children are left being black, blue, bruised, with broken bones and in all different ways with burns and bites and this is often seen as discipline. We have children that are being emotionally abused, bullied and these hardly gets reported because a lot of the times it is seen as something that is normal in our society.”
She said there is an issue where young boys are being sexually violated “and creating the issue of homosexuality especially with our young boys under the age of 13.”
Azille-Lewis pointed to the problem of young girls being exploited by adult men.
“We have our young girls who are continuously being violated by adult men, persons who take advantage of our children,” she stated. “We have them, sometimes they are the mothers, the mothers’ partners, the mothers’ boyfriends, stepfathers … they are not biologically the fathers of the children so they feel that they are not doing anything for free and hence take advantage of our children.”
She called on all in society to denounce violence against children.