Child protection takes centrestage at JWN Foundation fundraiser
There was an emotional outpouring for abused children, as members of an elite panel and those in the audience expounded the issue from two movies screened at the J. Wray and Nephew Foundation's inaugural fundraiser, Expressions of Art - Protecting OUR Children at The Courtleigh Auditorium.
The JWN Foundation hosted the event to bring awareness to child abuse and raise funds to implement intervention programmes that will be developed in partnership with the Child Development Agency (CDA) to curtail the practice and empower vulnerable females as well.
"We have a damn problem," said Emprezz Golding, reacting to the issues.
"I'm upset that we've not been able to protect our children. We've got to change the culture of our men," added Golding, chairperson for the Maxfield Park Children's Home.
POLICE SHOULD DO MORE
Much of her ire was directed, not only towards child abusers, but the police, whom she said should do more to protect the children.
Deputy Superintendent of Police Carl Berry, head of trafficking in persons, Counter-Terrorism Organised Crime (CTOC) Investigations Branch, noted that "education is important" in fighting child abuse.
"Too many children are being abused in a myriad of ways through trafficking and as a consequence we're moving to educate as many persons as possible. We're even teaching them to use the smartphone on social media," he said.
He added: "The judiciary has moved in a very positive direction and if you notice, evidence can be given from a remote location and is accepted and used properly in court.
"We want people to know the value of passing on information because if not you today, chances are it could be you another day, so why not fix it," Berry urged, saying people should tell what they know.
Professor Carolyn Cooper led the discussion as moderator.
She said: "What we need in Jamaica is for people to stand up. If the community decides to stand up you can't kill everybody. You need the community to stand up and say 'hell no'."
Rosalee Gage-Grey, CEO of the CDA, cited education as key due to the empowerment it provides.
"In this fight against child abuse, we have to give power to the children. We want them to self-report, we want them to know what is happening to them, oftentimes they don't know," Gage-Grey said.
Proceeds from this event will support programmes that will be developed by the CDA, in partnership with the JWN Foundation. These programmes will be centred on curtailing child abuse incidents and empowering vulnerable females alike.