Fri | Jun 23, 2017

Sex-ed scandal severely undermined 15 years of work, says JFJ

Published:Wednesday | November 5, 2014 | 11:11 AM

Human rights lobby group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) says its 15 years of work has been severely undermined by the controversy surrounding its introduction of a sexual education programme in six children’s homes.



JFJ has been under pressure since June when news broke that the programme had been introduced without the requisite approvals and that it exposed children to content which spoke about anal sex.



However, in a news release yesterday the JFJ explained that the programme had been approved by the boards of the six children’s homes.



JFJ says there was never any attempt to keep the programme secret as it was well publicised in the media and through its own newsletter, even before the programme became shrouded in controversy.



In addressing concerns that some of the content may have been inappropriate for children, JFJ says these are standard messages disseminated by the Ministry of Health on STI prevention and are consistent with globally recognised good practice.



It further adds that the information provided was appropriate for the life experiences, exposure and level of risk of the target group of children.



However, JFJ chairman, Dr Barry Wade says the sensationalising of the programme and the JFJ Board’s mishandling of the response, resulted in an unfortunate fall-out, which has undermined its work and left it explaining to its international partners.



Wade says none of JFJ’s funding partners have withdrawn financial support but he says the organisation’s ability to raise funds from the general public has taken a hit.



The JFJ board chairman says the greatest long term consequence of the controversy however has been the loss of a valuable educational programme designed to more adequately protect children most at risk for teen parenthood and infection with HIV or other sexually transmitted infections.



However, Wade says while the JFJ’s reputation has taken a hit, Jamaicans still come to its offices on a daily basis to seek help.



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