Protect our children from abuse

Published: Wednesday | July 15, 2009



Hi Neighbour! Pretty sure you would agree that many neighbours are alive and well this week not so much by their own doing but because of their neighbours' benevolence, combined with God's providence. Yes, someone was watching our back! Living in a world where so many things go against us, with God and a good neighbour on our side, we can ride through any storm and come out smiling.

in the name of discipline

Permit me to focus on a matter which could do with a little more of our attention. It's the well-being of some of our little neighbours. Many of them are living under abusive circumstances, and unless caring adults render some sort of assistance, they may be scarred for life. In some cases, parents and guardians may be ignorantly mistreating children in the name of discipline. These persons need our help. In trying to determine what neighbours may do in circumstances of abuse, without taking the law into their own hands, I had a chat with the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR). You will find this bit of information useful as we all work together for the preservation of our future generation.

According to the OCR, if there is a case where child abuse is known or suspected, one can call the Office of Children's Registry at 1-888-776-8328 or 908-2132. Note that abuse may take the form of abandonment, neglect, physical/sexual ill-treatment etc.

Calling everyone to come on board, public-education specialist Dasilva Ashman of the OCR says the person making the report is not required to prove that abuse is taking place. Once there is reasonable suspicion, the report can be made, giving name, age, sex and address of the victim. Any additional information, e.g. identity of the abuser, school the child attends etc., can also assist with their intervention and completion of the report. She is urging neighbours to ensure that all known or suspected acts of abuse are reported to them as failure to do so "shall be liable upon summary conviction before a resident magistrate to a fine not exceeding $500,000 or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or both". This is not a threat, just encouragement!

As caring neighbours, let's take this matter seriously and preserve some young lives. The objective of the authorities is not to punish anyone but to protect our children and help the abuser. Let's be neighbourly and join the campaign.

MANY THANKS TO THE FOLLOWING NEIGHBOURS WHO HELPED OTHERS LAST WEEK

1. Angella, Clarendon, for offering a table and chairs to young Danielle and her little sister, to help with their studies.

2. Ms Longmore, Manchester, for offering assistance to Mrs Thomas, who was in need of chickens to do poultry rearing to help generate an income for her family.

3. Mrs Ramsay, St Catherine, for donating books to Mrs Blair in St Catherine to assist with a special programme for high school dropouts.

4. Marion, Manchester, for connecting with Samantha, Clarendon, who needs assistance with baby clothing.

5. Tamara Vassell, St Andrew, for connecting with Ms Curtis from St Mary, who is in need of a wheelchair.

6. Lillian, St Catherine, for donating children and adults clothing to needy neighbours.

HERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO HELP NEIGHBOURS

To help, please call 906-3167, 884-3866 or 373-7745 or send email to neighbourtoo@yahoo.com and we will make the link. Those who desire to make financial donations to this project may make deposits to Acct # 351 044 276 at the National Commercial Bank. Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX

1. Neighbour, St Ann: Young woman who has lost both parents is appealing for help with food and clothing, etc. She's a bright young lady with much potential.

2. Tameika , mother of two, is in need of a bed for children. Children's father passed away recently and is finding it highly challenging at this time.

3. Sister Montague, Kingston: Was burnt out of her home two years ago and is still trying to recover. She is in need of a mattress, etc.

4. A 23-year-old widow with two children needs to do an MRI. She has no money or assistance from relatives.

5. Mrs Thompson, Kingston: This 81-year-old's house was destroyed by fire in 2007 and is still trying to get back on her feet. She's asking neighbours for assistance in acquiring a gas cylinder and regulator to cook her meals.

6. Ms Hopkins, St Catherine: An unemployed mother who suffered serious back injury and is now unable to work. She's requesting assistance in acquiring a fan for her two boys who are suffering with asthma.

7. Shauna, St Catherine: A 22-year-old young woman who pursued sewing in school is asking for a sewing machine to generate an income for her younger brothers and sisters, as her parents are unemployed.

'Hello Mi Neighbour' is authored by Silton Townsend, best known for his character role, Maas Gussie, in the now-defunct local sitcom, 'Lime Tree Lane'.