Protect children from predators!
ORACABESSA, St Mary:
Greater emphasis should be placed on educating parents and adults about how to protect children from sexual predators, the wife of the governor general posited earlier this week.
According to Lady Allen, who was speaking in Oracabessa, St Mary, at a mobile paediatric health clinic hosted by the Issa Trust Foundation (ITF), if Jamaicans are genuinely concerned about reducing incidents of child abuse, a national campaign must be launched to raise awareness about the dangers of child grooming and paedophilia.
Allen told Rural Xpress: "My husband and I are patrons for the ITF, so whenever they have clinics I like to lend my support. The work they do is very important, because our Government cannot fulfil all the needs of our people.
"Here, the children get proper screening and medication, which they don't have to pay for because we know what the economic situations are. The reality is most of the people here cannot afford health care, so it's really a big deal for us.
"One child came in this morning and had to be sent to the hospital for more intensive care. Possibly, if they had not gotten that intervention today, it could have been a fatal situation. And there are other issues that we can pick up, such as child abuse and sexual misconduct, which some parents are not really au fait with.
SUSTAINABLE HEALTH-CARE SYSTEM
"We know how many of our men groom our kids long before time, so when they make their move, our kids feel obligated to be nice to them, to their detriment. These are some of the things we want to stem, and clinics like this can help because they find these issues and can follow them up and alert child services."
Allen, who hails from Islington, St Mary, called for the development of a high-profile child-protection awareness campaign and praised the ITF and their US volunteers for helping the government and local communities build an integrated and sustainable health-care system.
She explained: "[Sexual abuse of children] is a global problem because as you read, you find that these things happen in other countries. But in our culture, we have the tendency to hide issues under the carpet, and sometimes it's the women who know it's happening, but they don't do anything, and try to protect the men instead of the children.
"I really think we need to educate our children as to what to look out for, because little kids will tell a teacher or somebody they trust what is happening but a child who is coached is going to be afraid and will think that nobody is going; to believe them.
"So we have to educate them and tell them the reasons why they cannot afford to let these things happen because, later on in life, a lot of them cannot have children because of sexually transmitted diseases and other infections that happened as a result of early sex."