Justice ministry intensifies efforts to address child abuse

The Justice Ministry says it will be intensifying efforts to address the use of abusive methods by some parents and guardians in disciplining children.

This is as a result of concerns surrounding the connection between child abuse and the deviant behaviours exhibited by young people.               

“I am very disturbed about the level of abuses that are being engaged in by parents and community members on the children of our country,” said Portfolio Minister, Delroy Chuck said.

“There are so many cases of not only anecdotal but actual abuses of our children in the name of discipline. I think that children can be disciplined in a more humane and verbal manner rather than the harsh punitive stick,” he noted.         

“Let me say that the Ministry of Justice is aware that these incidents are occurring, that our children are being abused and these abused children are the very ones who get into delinquent behaviour in their teen years,” he said.                                                                                         

As part of measures to address the issue, he said that the Government will be promoting the increased use of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods.

“What we plan to do is to really… invade the communities… to further roll out restorative justice, child diversion and mediation,” Chuck said, noting that parents will be among the target groups.

He said that the ministry is looking to work with the National Parenting Support Commission (NPSC) as a critical partner in addressing the issue of child abuse.

National Child Diversion Consultant, Ruth Carey, indicated that initial conversations have been held with the NPSC to provide support for parents.                                                                                                     

“We have not yet finalised an agreement but where we see that parents need support in the parishes, we reach out to them,” she noted.