Minister's message on National Child Abuse Prevention Month
National Child Abuse Prevention Month, observed annually in April, seeks to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. Families, schools and communities are encouraged to share child abuse prevention strategies and promote prevention across the country.
As we observe Child Abuse Prevention Month under the theme ‘NO EXCUSE FOR CHILD ABUSE’ we must work together to curb all forms of abuse. When we work together to invest in children and families, it creates a rippling effect on future generations, leading to a lifetime of productivity and social responsibility. Here are three ways you can get involved in the national child protection movement.
Firstly, the Office of the Prime Minister has completed the draft National Child Policy. You can visit our website at www.opm-gca.gov.tt, to review and share your views on what you would like to see included in the policy.
Secondly, I challenge you to do your part by learning the act F.A.S.T. Anti-Child Abuse acronym and teaching it to at least five children. Teach them that in cases of abuse they can act F.A.S.T.:
F stands for Family: talk to a trusted family member that can assist in the process or Contact the National Family Services or any Non-Governmental Organisation supporting children and families.
A stands for Authority: Contact an Authority such as the Police Service at 999 and The Children’s Authority at 996 / 800-2014 for help and support.
S stands for Support Services: Speak to Guidance Counsellors, School Social Workers, Teachers, Principals for help and support.
T: stands for Telephone or Trusted Adult: Contact Child Line at 131 or 800-4321 or tell a trusted adult to guide you.
Thirdly, as our young ones enjoy their upcoming Easter vacation, the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) is encouraging parents to work with us to keep children safe, secure and happy by applying the S.A.F.E.T.Y. Acronym:
Supervise: Ensure trusted adults oversee children at all times to prevent accidents, abuse and neglect. Monitor their use of cell phones and the internet to encourage and ensure constructive use.
Act: Ensure children know how to act quickly in cases of emergencies. Teach them emergency contact numbers and safety procedures.
Focus: Implement a healthy and well-balanced lifestyle including appropriate diet, exercise and well-planned activities.
Educate: Continue educating your child. Ensure your child spends at least 1 hour reading or doing school work each day. Take responsibility for teaching your child their rights and responsibilities.
Touch: Ensureyou teach your child the differences between good and bad touches, and how to say NO to inappropriate touches by peers and adults.
You: You are important to your child. Spend quality time and talk with your child daily. This increases your awareness of any changes in your child’s life.
To continue supporting your efforts, the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) will roll out several initiatives in the coming months aimed at raising awareness on child abuse. Our public education and sensitisation efforts will include the following key initiatives:
- The Child Abuse Prevention Media Campaign which will utilise advertisements on television, radio, newspapers, brochures and social media.
- Child Protection Training Workshops for Coaches and Early Childhood Educators.
- The Child Protection League: An Interactive Child Protection Fair for children & parents scheduled for the 4th June 2019 at the National Academy for the Performing Arts.
Remember that child abuse does not only affect the body but can deeply wound the mind, heart and soul of a child. Therefore, let us work together by talking about it, reporting it and breaking the silence because there is ‘NO EXCUSE FOR CHILD ABUSE’.
Thank you and may God bless our nation.