Sat | Aug 13, 2022

More psychosocial support for children and victims of domestic violence

Published:Friday | July 1, 2022 | 12:06 AM

The Government is committed to making greater social investments to support victims of crime and violence, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang has said.

“The importance of advancing an integrated strategy for case management and psychosocial support cannot be overstated. This may well be the difference between adding an additional case manager to prevent a child from falling into a life of crime,” said Chang.

His remarks follow yesterday’s presentation of findings of the Needs Assessment for Case Management and Psychosocial Services, which is geared towards children, youths and victims of intimate-partner violence, who will benefit from the main interventions.

“Social investment activities must be relevant,”declared the security minister while pointing out that in order for any such undertaking to have the desired impact, it must be data-driven with empirical monitoring.

In driving the point home, Chang explained that close to 14,000 children and adolescents across Jamaica require case management, and an additional 500 are in need of attention from medical professionals, including psychologists and psychiatrists.

He added that the Government’s focus on getting social investment right does not take away from the need for a strong, professional, highly trained, intelligence-driven and technologically savvy police force.

“Transformational change can only be achieved within a safe, secure and peaceful environment in which everyone can enjoy basic rights without fear, where they can feel comfortable to work and raise families and seek to achieve their dreams and ambitions,” Chang emphasised.

Last year, the Government shifted policy focus from social intervention to social investment in a strategic effort to drive positive change to socio-economically challenged communities.


Chang explained further that the new strategy was designed to ensure that public funds and Government services reach vulnerable communities, as well as ensure transformation in personal and professional lives across communities.

He said he was pleased that progress was being made in opening up the door to address the critical issues affecting Jamaica’s youth population, specifically those residing in volatile spaces.

In discussing the findings of the report, the security minister said it had provided both quantitative and qualitative evidence of what had long been known, that there is adire need for a more specialised approach to social investment initiatives targeted at youths at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of violent crime.

He also pointed out that steps were being taken to advance public discourse and participation in the Citizen Security Plan (CSP), which involves an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach to addressing the risk factors of crime to include a 25-school strategy and similar approaches to train, certify and recruit at-risk youths.

“It is my hope that our efforts and the contribution of us all will provide the protective factors that provide inclusivity and turn the tides towards creating a safe and healthy Jamaica,” Chang continued.

The report, which is funded by the European Union, spans five zones of special operations for communities in Kingston and St Andrew, and St James. It also compares and contrasts the estimated needs (demand) with the current coverage (supply) of available services to the public.