Dominica reviews child abuse reporting procedures and guidelines

The workshop took place on Monday
The workshop took place on Monday

Practical and relevant guidelines are said to be synonymous with the right attitude in dealing with Child Abuse cases and the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of family, Social Services and Gender Affairs, Sylvanie Burton, has called on stakeholders to take the necessary steps in making this become a reality.

Burton made the remarks while addressing a Health and Police consultation on Child Abuse reporting procedures and guidelines which took place at the Fort Young Hotel Vault on Monday 13th July 2015.

Burton made a point during the workshop
Burton made a point during the workshop

“The right attitude in carrying out both the medical and criminal investigation is equally important,” she said. “The right procedures and guidelines need also to be in place when we are reporting within the agencies for the purposes of lack of delay and confidentiality and when the right individuals would have to deal with the matter are informed they can make the right decisions. Hence the need for the review of the guidelines for reporting child abuse incidences.”

She continued, “Today it is my hope that you will take the necessary steps in reviewing and making these guidelines more practical and relevant for efficiency and effectiveness and this will no doubt contribute to the safety of our children of Dominica,” she stated.

Burton noted that the issue is “one of great concern to us all,” adding that “there is absolutely no excuse for a child being abused in any form or way.”

She added that the Police, Social Welfare and the Health Professionals, who are involved in the process when a child abuse is reported, are the most integral and critical players in the whole process of investigating the incidences of child abuse in Dominica.

“They are the ones who are involved in the information gathering on what actually took place when officials know what to do and what not to do. This can either make or break a case against the perpetrators even before it reaches the court,” she stated.

Azille-Lewis said the protocol for reporting child abuse is important
Azille-Lewis said the protocol for reporting child abuse is important

Meantime the Coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Unit Jemma Azille-Lewis believes that it is time to have a review of the guidelines on reporting child abuse.

“Today we are here to discuss the issue of child abuse all the different forms which are sexual, physical, neglect or abandonment and also emotional abuse. We are here to review a set of guidelines that was put forward in the year 2002. There was a The short review of this document which was done in 2005 and we are in 2015 and it is vital, it is important that these be reviewed,” she said. “This is 10 years later and I think that having a protocol or guidelines in place, the matter of reporting child abuse cases is very important.”

Stakeholders from the Ministry of Health, Dominica Police Force, and Social Welfare Division were among attendees.

Discussion is expected to be centered around: Child abuse- what do you know and what would you do? With Jemma Azille Lewis; Review of child abuse reporting procedures and guidelines by onsultant Mr. Martin Anthony; an Eastern Caribbean study on: Public opinion on corporal punishment, public’s perception on child abuse and domestic violence which was conducted in 2014 by UNICEF, to be presented by Jemma Azille Lewis.

Magistrate Gloria Augustus is to make a presentation on: From Examination/Medical Intervention and investigation to the court

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7 Comments

  1. Tina Alexander
    July 14, 2015

    The NGO Coalition is going to PORTSMOUTH tomorrow for another Town Hall meeting. Come and have your say…..There is a serious problem in the North…..is it true that being further from the Capital means that abusers get away with their activities? 4.30pm at the Credit Union conference room. Kudos to the police for hosting . Do not just comment online. Come to the meeting and speak up on behalf of children. Even if you are no longer a child…..your abuser is probably still hurting children.

    • July 25, 2015

      NGO had another Town Hall Meeting :?:

      Have they received a timeline on any of the petitions they have presented to the government :?:

      Has the government told them yet WHEN they can expect to SEE anything done about mandatory reporting of abuse or WHEN an official online sex offenders registry will be put in place :?:

      If not you have a real problem there and it is worse than I thought.

      Sincerely, Rev. Donald Hill. Evangelist.

  2. Shameless
    July 14, 2015

    They should be ashamed to admit that 10 years later and no protocol is in place. What have they been doing? why are they still in their position and have the guts to admit how important it is.

    • The Real Facts - ON
      July 14, 2015

      As everything else, they are slow. Know that most parents or caretakers are reluctant to report child abuse. In addition, what report the police make if they are called for child abuse.
      Child abuse also entails emotional and physical abuse. You should know that some parents did not decide to have children. They happened to conceive. I need not elaborate on this.
      You should know about it. These parents have no parenting skills – in fact, the majority of parents. The manner they discipline children is to shout at them and deprive them of their rights or whatever they enjoy. These parents must be counseled accordingly.
      Therefore, I can understand why it took them so long. They may be getting prompting from these foreign non-profit organizations as the UN and WHO and whatever else which is why today, they have come out in the limelight to speak about child abuse and hopefully try to do something concrete about it.. May they not be empty words.

  3. Kalinago
    July 14, 2015

    The matter cannot be discussed effectively if all stakeholders are not present. We cannot find the answer from within only, when the problem persists despite the efforts of the actors from within. Attacking a problem such as this takes input from all persons working in the sector. This is not a closed shop policy kind of problem when it is affecting our children.

  4. The Real Facts - ON
    July 13, 2015

    Children deserve to be happy and to be treated respectfully. They are people too.
    Meetings should be held with parents, teachers and district nurses in different parts of the country. Parents should be advised to promptly report child abuse. They must also be counseled about good parenting and physical and emotional child abuse.
    Most people have TV. Ensure those concerned are also informed via the Media. Soon everyone will be reached and made aware of the government’s firm stand on child abuse and that those who abuse children in any manner will face prosecution.
    When these cases are reported to the police, they must take them seriously and file a report.
    If children are sexually and physically abused and are in need of doctor and hospital medical care, these should also do likewise.
    Teachers who are aware that children are abused, should notify the authorities and then the police.
    If you hope to eradicate child abuse everyone concerned should play their part.

  5. Bowdel
    July 13, 2015

    “There is absolutely no excuse for a child being abused in any form or way.” I AGREEEEEEEE

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