Gov’t launches plan to tackle violence against children
The National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence was launched on November 19 at Emancipation Park.
The launch followed a special session in the House of Parliament where children made an appeal to the government to address the issues of violence which affect them.
Chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance, Dr Elizabeth Ward who gave an overview of the plan of action, outlined that there is one goal - “to create a protective environment supportive and responsive to the issues of children and violence,” she said.
Ward called for a baseline survey to be commissioned to assess the effectiveness of existing services which cater to children.
Chief executive officer of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, Rosalee Gage-Grey said in previous years, World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse was recognised with the hosting of a candlelight vigil and concert.
“Each year we read a scroll of more than 60 children who have died due to tragic and violent circumstances. The aim is that after this plan, we may never have a need to host a candlelight vigil.”
She continued: “This plan signals our commitment and course of action as a country in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Therefore, through a multi-agency approach, the hope is to reduce the impact of violence on children through an integrated approach to prevention, control, monitoring, and intervention so that children may preserve their right to grow, to be productive citizens of Jamaica,” said Gage-Grey.
In his closing remarks, Minister of State in the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Floyd Green said the implementation of the plan requires the participation of every Jamaican.
“The biggest responsibility is a personal responsibility that each individual has to treat every child as if that child is their own. We can’t think about violence against children as just violence against an unknown child. We have to reflect on it as if it were our child that was faced with that prospect,” Green said.
OVERVIEW OF THE NATIONAL PLAN OF ACTION
Outcome 1: Strengthened policy, legal and regulatory framework to ensure the protection of children from all forms of violence and exploitation.
Outcome 2: Improved quality of services for children affected by violence.
Outcome 3: Strengthened family and community capacities to address children and violence issues.
Outcome 4: Enhanced public education, sensitisation and training in violence prevention, the care of child victims of violence and children’s rights.
Outcome 5: Establishment of an integrated framework for the effective coordination, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the NPACV.