2-1-1 child abuse helpline coming
The Ministry of Education is setting up a dedicated helpline for persons to report cases of children being abused or neglected. The number to call is 211.
The official launch is set for May, which is observed each year as Child Month.
Minister of Education Fayval Williams said the helpline would be staffed by professionals who would give proper guidance and information to callers.
Recapping her presentation to the Sectoral Debate the previous day, Williams used Thursday’s virtual press conference to appeal for greater public awareness and action to arrest the scourge of child abuse.
“We know that neighbours have information very early on. They hear the beatings. We want them to be able to report it, because those are early warning signs as well that something is going wrong in the life of the child,” she said.
“In our childcare and protection sector, you might have heard just how stark that is in terms of the abuse to our children and we have to raise the awareness among parents.”
Williams said the ministry would soon roll out a sustained good-parenting campaign that will provide parents with information on alternatives to corporal punishment.
Identifying chronic absenteeism as an early warning signal, the education ministry will be introducing an attendance app.
That database of reliable and timely information will assist the ministry in offering quick intervention, said Williams.