Child sexual abuse high in Dominica – social worker

Photo credit: www.coe.int

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.

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24 Comments

  1. Anonymous
    November 26, 2013

    Sexual abuse of children is a crime dreadful beyond words. The problem in Dominica may not be any worse than it is in Canada. I do not have the statistics in front of me to compare but I’d be the first to confess that we have our share of these crimes in Canada.

    It is to the credit of the Government of Dominica that an organization such as the Child Abuse Prevention Unit is in place to confront the
    issue and that Coordinator Jemma Azille-Lewis has identified sexual abuse as the most prominate form of abuse. Bringing this to the attention of social workers is a step forward. Knowledge is our greatest weapon!

    Social workers need to be alerted when it comes to what they should be on the lookout for – especially case workers – when following up on the care of foster children in the homes where they have been placed.

    We do not want to create an atmosphere of suspicion that would make life difficult for good and well meaning people. But the public should know that some of the most unlikely people can be quilty of sexual child abuse. It is O.K. to be watchful. It is true many cases of abuse happen in the homes of the victims. Abusers have been grandfathers, fathers, boyfriends of mothers (a big problem), uncles, brothers, babysitters (be careful who you use as a sitter), teachers, even priests or pastors. Be careful who you let your child be alone with, or go camping with, etc. As it has been pointed out a woman can also be guilty of sexual child abuse, although most abusers are males. Victims can be either females or males. In some places there is an increase of male victims reported.

    Children should be taught how to protect themselves against inappropriate touching, and who they can tell if somebody gives them trouble. There should be at least one person every child knows he or she can go to.

    Parents should listen to their children and NEVER let the child think they don’t believe them. Why? Because it is difficult for a child to report abuse! Many cases go unreported. We have seen too many cases (in Canada) where the Mother has covered up for her husband especially if he was the bread-winner! This is why children should know there is somebody else they can talk to such as a teacher, or counselor. Some communities now have a “Telephone Help-Line” children can call. It is alright for teachers at school to let the children know they can report an incident to the police if nobody else will listen to them.

    In some localities there is a law that says anybdy who knows a child (underage person) has been assaulted he or she MUST report it to the police. We have this law in Canada, in the province of Ontario. Every teacher, counselor, doctor, pastor, or person in a position of trust is fearfully aware of this law. When I worked as a Certified Pastoral Counselor (C.P.C.) in a large Health Center in Toronto I knew this law was on the books. If I failed to report a case of possible abuse I could face a serious criminal charge myself.

    Do not confront the accused. Go directly to the police. They are trained to do the questioning. Do not allow anybody to threaten you or convince you not to go to the police.

    Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill, D.D., C.P.C., Pentecostal Evangelist.

    • November 26, 2013

      OOPS! :oops:

      When I finished my comments they disappeared from the screen before I posted then. Perhaps I mistakenly hit the post button. I thought they were gone forever.

      So I wrote them again trying to remember what I had said. When I hit the post button for the second submission – behold – both articles appeared on the screen!

      They are slightly different because of my 72 year old memory. I am sorry for this.

      Blessings!

      Sincerely, Dev. Don Hill

  2. Cyrique
    November 21, 2013

    This henous crime happens all over the world. I believe firmly that no one can be trusted. It all begins with family then the best friend who put little girls to sit on their lap or those whom you trust to babysit!! Isn’t it awful. I sit on a Committee where I hear these horrid stories. Parents must train their children not to keep ‘secrets’ from them or the uncle, cousin or family friend who keeps giving them pocket money or buy them the latest phone or trainers grooming them or continuing to a use them right under the parents’ noses. Shame on these perverts robbing our children of their childhood! If we don’t have a childline then we should!!!

    • November 26, 2013

      It is true that the sexual abuse of children is a world wide problem. So out of respect for the many good, respectable, loving people on your beautiful island I want to address this as a social problem not a Dominican problem.

      Knowledge is our best weapon. The more information we can get out the better off the nation (any nation) will be.

      Please allow me to share a few facts. Some of these things have already been said but they deserve to be repeated.

      (1) Sexual child abuse often happens in the homes of the victims.

      (2) The predator is often known to the victim.

      (3) It is not unusual for the predator to be a family member or someone near the victim. It is sometimes a grandfather, father, or stepfather, the mother’s boyfriend, or a brother. If the mother is separated from the children’s father and has a “live-in boyfriend” she should be careful of the man. They are certainly not all inclined this way. But a significant number of mother’s boyfriends have been charged with child abuse and it usually (not always) happens in the home. These men are pedophiles. They will make an effort to win the trust and confidence of the mother. They show their “affection” for the kids and try to come across as their benefactors.

      (4) Parents shouild be careful who they let babysit their children. This is also a problem area.

      (5) Parents should be careful who they let their children be alone with, especially to stay over night, or go camping with.

      (6) Unfortunately, an abuser can be somebody who would normally be trusted. Teachers, counselors,
      priests and pastors, “Big Brothers” and “Big Sisters”, as well as Scout Leaders, along with others who work with young people have been charged. Usually, these are solid trust worthy people. But parents should be careful of any older person who shows an abnormal interest in a child or teenager, and wants the youngster to “come over” or spend an unusual amount of time with them.

      (7) Parents should watch for signs of abuse. (a) A loss of interest in the things that used to bring the child enjoyment. (b) School homework being neglected, or a drop in school grades. (c) Any radical change in the child’s eating or sleeping habits: loss of appetite or sleeplessness. (d) withdrawing: spending time alone in his or her room. Not communicating. (e)Wanting to avoid or keep away from a certain indivdual or individuals. (f) a child having money that is not accounted for, or receiving “gifts” such as as watch, phone, or computer, or other information technology so important to kids these days.

      (8) Parents should listen to a child who reports abuse. Children seldom make uo these stories! On the contrary. Most children who are molested are afraid to report it. Many cases go unreported. NEVER tell a chld You don’t believe him or her regardless of WHO the predator is. Show an interest in the case. Ask questions.

      (9) If the child tells a straight story and does not back down take it to the police immediately. Do not confront the accused. Remember the police are the ones who are trained to ask the questions. It is best that they receive the story first hand. The parent or whoever becomes aware of the abuse should take it directly to the police. You do NOT give anybody an opportunity to threaten you, or convince you not to report the incident.

      (10) Every child should be taught at home and in school not to get in a car OR go anywhere with somebody they don’t know. They should be advised how to act if somebody touches them inappropriately.

      (11) Every child should know at least one person they can talk to if they are molested – one person who will listen – and believe them besides their parents. There should be a program in place to assure that each kid has this one other person in their life.

      (12) Some communities have set up a “Telephone HelpLine” children can call. Volunteers are screened and trained to take the calls and work with the police when becessary.

      (13) In some countries there is a law that requires ANY person who learns of a child being sexually abused to report it immediately to the police. In my Province of Ontario we have this law. Any person who works as a doctor, nurse, teacher, clergy, counselor, or in any other position of trust with children is feafully aware of this law. When I worked as a paid Certified Pastoral Counselor, C.P.C., in a large Health Center in Toronto, I knew this law was on the books. If I failed to report a case I myself could face a criminal charge.

      There are things that CAN be done. Intelligent informed Dominicans have identified sexual child abuse as a problem in their country. If there are laws to be made and programs to put in place NOW is the time to act! Let other nations take an example from you.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill, D.D., C.P.C., Pentecostal Evangelist.

  3. rastafarian minded
    November 20, 2013

    I was in Dominica a few weeks ago and I observed that children have to much time on there own. If possible they should be a review of the school hours. They should also be in every community programs geared to different age groups in every village to keep the youths active and secured until parents finish working.

  4. Mother
    November 20, 2013

    To bad it had to take ” universal children day” to headline this horrible crime taking place at a high rate in dominica. This should be broadcast loudly every day on DBS, Matt , DNO and all news media on a daily bases! I have heard too many stories of incest and rape against innocent children. These children are damaged for life. To top it off, they are blamed and called all types of names by society when they start acting out! It is time the social workers and Law Protect the children of Dominica!!!!!

  5. Real Talk
    November 20, 2013

    Sexual Abuse is real in DA. It is taboo and has been for years. The sad thing is most of it happens in families. Be careful of who you leave your children with. Especially uncles, cousins, step father, boyfriends, neighbours. Don’t overlook the women either. They too, although less often, take advantage of children.

  6. Truthofthematter
    November 20, 2013

    Dominican men are disgusting when it comes to this issue! And many women, men also, who are aware of child sexual abuse cases on the island turn a blind eye. Most of these cases occur in single parent families where the mothers are very neglectful. With the lackadaisical attitude of parents today, these kids are placed in vulnerable situations where people can take advantage of them. Frequently, it is a relative or neighbour(someone the child knows) committing the act; a brother, a father, an uncle, a cousin, a grandfather, even a pahweh. I’m not singling out men as the only perpetrators but in all honesty they make up the majority of them. Something is very wrong with the culture among Dominican men as it relates to sexual boundaries. It seems as though our animal instincts overpower our humanity, leading to a great degree of uncivilized and dysfunctional behaviour. My ex was a victim. Ever since she got the courage to tell me, I have never been able to dissociate this type of violation from the inappropriate behaviour of our young women in Dominica. Sometimes the man you think you know is the reason why some girl is so psychologically messed up. I only hope and pray that we find a way to address this issue and actually make some significant steps to correct it. We are quick to talk about less important things but yet we brush aside issues of considerably more importance like child sexual abuse.

  7. storm
    November 20, 2013

    Jail those mothers who keep their mouths shut. lazy and materialistic.

    they would smart phones, weave, nice clothes. they want to go to all party at the expense of their children. sending those poor children to prostitute their souls for money. jail them

  8. Love I
    November 20, 2013

    Lord have mercy….Mothers who condone these acts have to face the courts…put up hot lines on everything so the kids can get numbers to call….this is satanic people…

  9. Dominican abroad
    November 20, 2013

    Its significant that you’re highlighted the sad plight of our vulnerable children . As a society we have a duty of care to protect our children from physical , sexual, emotional and psychological abuse. Working in partnership with support agecies for example the police , social services, child support agencies and the courts is the only way this despicable behaviour can be tackled head on. Suspects should be brought to justice with the full force of the law and safeguard measures implemented to protect the victims.

  10. Anonymous
    November 20, 2013

    This cancer is killing our culture faster than any drug or alcohol abuse. Government and Church etc are not looking to solve this problem but sweep it under the carpet. So that is where it lives – under the carpet in our villages and homes.

    This is the big silent killer of warm hearts and positive minds in our society. Abuse creates abuse. It is a vicious destructive element of our society which leaves many of us unable to give and receive love in the ways it needs to be shared for us all to grow as one society living in peace, love, and harmony.

  11. anony mouse
    November 20, 2013

    It is pointless, useless and baseless really to ask for help. Why? because it’s all it takes is for the powers that be to actually rise up and see this as something which needs urgent attention and create some laws to publicly deal with these men. The men go to court, get a little warning and then sent home to continue their dirty business. The public is not even aware that their next door neighbor is a perpetrator, the bus drivers who are entrusted to take our kids to school are taking them in the bushes, are given them free rides to school, and are impregnating them. Why do parents have the power to decide if they want to go forward with the case. The law is a joke and until it is taken serious we can all just laugh with them. Children are our future, and what good can they be if they are damaged, hurt and tainted.

  12. SUKIE
    November 20, 2013

    Concern Friend I agree with you 100% and more, That has been going on for YEARS and no one to help the kids…LIKE ME,
    Someone have to help them, I am not in Dominica no more but it still happens who are the kids going to turn too. who they going to believe the child or the parent..no one believed me.

  13. Views Expressed
    November 20, 2013

    Friends, mothers , Fathers, family members, This is what the news clip says as it ended.

    “Azille-Lewis is calling on everyone for support in the endeavour.”

    “We really cannot do it on our own, we need every individual in Dominica,” she said.

    Where is CCF, now ChildFund…where is Francis Joseph, he was on top on this matter with CCF. Why are these so called NGO`s silent….why is on the observance of child Day that people want to talk…or when it really reaches close to home they talk…..
    We hear of government ministers involved in unsavoury activities when young girls apply for jobs…why didn`t Gemma and the Welfare Division with the police go in and deal with this matter or is it because these government ministers are big wigs and above the law, the constitution and their office???
    Our young boys, men are also a target by big men, 16, 17, 19, 20 years old boys are picked up and driven about and to nice secluded homes by big men from all areas….what a penetration of abuse.
    Shameful, disgusted

  14. my view
    November 20, 2013

    things like these no one comments on. its sad that our babies are being abused and yet still some ppl who know that they are being ill treated refuse to do something about it.we cant be there 24/7 but we must be careful of whom we leave or kids.i hope alot of ppl will attend this march through the streets.

  15. amazed
    November 20, 2013

    you have my full support 100%. Let me know how I can help.

  16. thiny
    November 20, 2013

    i can count 1,2 3, 4, 5, 6,7,8 kids very quickly that i know of that has ben sexually abused as kids if i have to think i can come oup with more……some of the mothers have told me about it after the fact and the mothers were still in relationship with the men…oh i rememmer another another lne make that 9….alll little girls abused by their motheres boyfreind or their biological fathers….men are dangerous…. i know of relatives of my family that have been abused by her uncles….members of tmy family have slo been sexually abused by thier biological fathers…..the mothers are related to me but fathres…. the men in my family are not sexual predators thank God
    ….the mothers need to be punished tooo…some mothers will i mideately leave but some mothers remain with the men and still have a sexual relationship with the men even after they found out that the man have been sexually abusing their daiugher…hey another sexually aboused female bjust popped up…ther are just too many….

    • thiny
      November 20, 2013

      an like the article yesterday stated this is happenin to boys too…. i personally know any young boy that has been sexually abused but i know ther are many…as many as the young girls that are being sexually abused………i blame the mothers for not educating their children and knowing their children to know that something is wrong….as long as their is bad this will continue to happen at an alarming rate…..parehnts it’s your fault……

    • Teacher A
      November 20, 2013

      So Why haven’t you reported the 9 cases and counting? Not even 1? I am very disappointed. They keep your name anonymous. Here is the # 266 3080/ 266 3020. If you care so much…let’s see what happens.

      • thiny
        November 20, 2013

        I found out years after in all the cases………

  17. Friend
    November 20, 2013

    Children being abused and you all issuing parenting certificates and walking? How is that going to solve anything?

    Why aren’t you all marching or demonstrating to ensure laws are reformed? why aren’t you all actively organising marches to protest for harsher penalties for abusers, clinical help for the abused and punishment for those who actively condone such behaviours – particularly the parents!

    Get real – unless practical, real measures are taken against perpetrators of such crimes – SEXUAL ABUSE WILL REMAIN THE HIGHEST FORM OF ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN IN DOMINICA!!!!

    Having had first hand experience with the inefficiency of the welfare system here – I won’t hold my breath for a change!

  18. Concern Friend
    November 20, 2013

    Fathers abuse their girls, sexually as well , no one says nothing , the mothers cover it up and blame other young boys who are friends with their daughters. Is time that the Welfare visit schools especially secondary school and seat one on one with the girls as well as boys.
    These kids tell their friends but afraid to tell the right persons.
    School visits is important is time to act NOW before its too LATE.
    IS there also anonymous hotline to call , to report any cases of abuse.

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