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Bunting calls for more vigilance towards our children

Published:Sunday | March 29, 2015 | 12:00 AMRyon Jones
Bunting

National Security Minister Peter Bunting believes most of the blame for the violent deaths of the country's children since the start of the year must be laid at the feet of the families, friends and community members of the young victims and not the security force.

More than a dozen of the nation's children have lost their lives to violence since the start of the year, some in extremely gruesome fashion.

"This is something we are deeply concerned about," Bunting told The Sunday Gleaner. "But this is not purely a law enforcement effort; this is going to require people right across the society."

At least two young female victims were found to be pregnant at the time of their deaths, an indication that they were sexually abused, which is something for which Bunting believes those closest to children must be on the lookout.

"Because the abuse often starts within the home, within the community, within an environment where it is more likely to be discovered by a neighbour, a family member, a teacher, and so, it is going to require increased vigilance right across the society," he said. "Because these abuses, or even the murders, often start with sexual abuse or statutory rape, and then progress to more serious crimes against these victims."

CISOCA HAS KEY ROLE

Bunting is, however, not downplaying the role of the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).

CISOCA is a branch of the Jamaica Constabulary Force which was established in 1998 to create an atmosphere which will encourage victims to report incidents of sexual offences and child abuse.

The centre also seeks to ensure efficient and effective investigation into allegations of abuse; to enhance the rehabilitation of victims through counselling and therapy and to conduct public-education programmes on sexual offences and child abuse.

"We are putting extra emphasis on it (child abuse) within the JCF; particularly through CISOCA, but it is going to require a broad partnership right across the society," Bunting said.

ryon.jones@gleanerjm.com