Fri | Oct 20, 2017

PM leads charge to protect children

Published:Saturday | May 16, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller will be leading a child-protection campaign across the island, starting on May 28, in the parish of Clarendon, where she will engage citizens on ways to prevent child abuse.

Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna, who made the

disclosure on the Jamaica Information Service current affairs programme 'Issues and Answers', said the prime minister will be engaged in "courageous" conversations.

"She will outline what the Government is doing, and has done, to arrest child abuse and to protect our children," she said, noting that the administration is doing its part, such as amending both the Child Care and Protection Act and the Criminal Justice (Administration) Act to come up with harsher penalties for child abusers.

"You (parents) have a responsible role to play as well. We have several policies and programmes, and there is an underbelly that we have to confront as a country," the minister said, in reference to men who impregnate teenage girls and then murder them.

greater scrutiny

Hanna said the amended legislation would see greater scrutiny for parents and guardians as well as community members who know of children in need of care and protection but fail to make reports to the authorities.

She also noted that the Child Diversion Policy, which serves as a "tool of restorative justice", is used primarily to put child offenders on a path away from the criminal justice system and its attendant negative features, and that several parish committees are being set up to assist.