As Dominica joins the rest of the world to observe Universal Children’s Day on Wednesday sexual abuse of children remains high on the island.
As a matter of fact sexual abuse is the highest reported form of abuse against children in the Dominica, according to Coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Unit, Jemma Azille-Lewis.
“From the point of the reported cases children do suffer all the forms of abuse but the form of abuse which is more highly reported is sexual abuse in our children and that include sexual abuse of both boys and girls,” she told DNO.
Additionally violence against children is a major concern to social workers, which together with sexual abuse, can have long term effects, according to Azille-Lewis.
“As long as you have one child being abused, it is one too many and if you have more than 10 of course it’s a concern …. remember there are effects on children who are being abused and the effects can have a wide range; they can range from teen pregnancy to sexual transmitted diseases, to delinquency, aggressiveness …” she said.
She pointed out that this year, for Universal Children’s Day, Dominica will focus on the well-being of children.
“ We are focusing on the well-being of children for Universal Children’s Day and we are also focusing on bringing together partners, everyone who works in the care and protection of children and not only work but also every individual who is looking at promoting the wellbeing of children. It’s basically about creating an awareness among all children worldwide and also improving children’s welfare,” She stated.
As part of the day’s observance some 70 parents wll recieve certificates in Grand Bay for completing a parenting program.
Other activities are planned for the week. “On Friday we are going to have an open day where we will be meeting one on one with the general public to talk them about child abuse and violence against children and handing out educational materials at the same time,” Azille-Lewis stated.
On Saturday 23, there will be a walk from the Pottersville Savannah from 8:00 am through the streets of Roseau during which violence against children will be condemned and the rights of children will be expounded.
Azille-Lewis is calling on everyone for support in the endeavor.
“We really cannot do it on our own, we need every individual in Dominica,” she said.