LASCO police officer of the year continues work for children
LASCO/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Police Officer of the Year, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo, has embarked on a project to protect children from abuse.
Using poster messages created by children from across the Corporate Area who participated in a child abuse workshop earlier this year, she has designed the 'I am a Child' notebooks, which bear messages that provide guidance and advice for children.
"From the sensitisation workshop, the children made posters about what it means when a child is abused and what message they would want parents and other children to know.
"So, for example, one child said, 'I am a child, don't neglect me,' another wrote, 'Keep your children safe from harm,' and one said, 'Stop violating the children,' while another wrote, 'I will not keep silent.' These were all based on their understanding and the messages that they want to send," Lindo explained.
These messages are on the outside covers of the exercise books, while the inside covers provide tips for children ranging from advice about inappropriate touching, to what to do if they have been abused.
PAY KEEN ATTENTION
There is also advice for parents, including the need for them to pay keen attention to their children's friends, as well as to engage them in conversation about what is appropriate and inappropriate sexual touching.
Some 400 of these books have been distributed to children so far. They were first gifted as part of a back-to-school treat in Waltham Park in August.
Lindo said that she was looking to expand the project to reach children across the island.
She expects to print and distribute a total of 3,000 copies by January 2016, through the support of LASCO.
She strongly believes that the 'I am a Child' notebooks will have a significant impact in protecting vulnerable children.
She notes that it is designed to promote awareness so that children can know who to turn to and where to seek help if they are in trouble.
"Remember that there are some homes where parents are not talking to children about these things ... so I am hoping that when the child gets it (the notebook), he or she will share it with someone else, and the parent can also reinforce the information in it," Lindo said.
The notebooks also provide contact information for the Office of the Children's Registry, the Children's Advocate, the Child Development Agency, and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse.
Meanwhile, the LASCO Top Cop, who is involved in a range of community service activities and projects, has spearheaded domestic and gender-based violence workshops over the year.
In October, she hosted a series of parenting workshops with parents, teachers and principals from the St Andrew South and Central communities, which impacted some 120 persons.