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Registry coping with advise wave

Published:Monday | January 25, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

A six-month-old baby sexually molested by her father. A 15-year-old girl being pimped by her mother. A 10-year-old boy set on fire by his father.

These are among the horrifying images which constitute the collage of pain and abuse in the logs of the Office of the Children's Registry (OCR), said Carla Edie, registrar at the organisation.

Edie was addressing congregants at the OCR's third anniversary church service at the Full Truth Church of God Deliverance Centre in Shortwood, St Andrew, yesterday.

Although having to contend with shocking revelations of child abuse daily, the OCR expressed optimism about the increase in reported cases since its inception.

Numbers increasing

According to Edie, since 2007, the OCR has received in excess of 10,000 reports of child abuse and neglect in Jamaica. She indicated that in 2009 alone, the registry received 6,150 reports of abuse and neglect - 5,690 more than the 460 reported cases in 2007, and 2,100 more than the number reported in 2008.

According to Edie, the marked increase over the three-year period conveys a growing confidence in the mission and mandate of the registry, supporting the need for a confidential and central system to report child abuse.

Additionally, she said with the recent recruitment of a statistician and the introduction of a new system to capture and store information related to abuse and neglect, the OCR is now better able to attend to the data needs of the public.

"Furthermore, data that are captured will also be used to inform public-education efforts as well as guide the formulation of child-friendly policies," Edie said.

No structure

In the meantime, UNICEF Jamaica has taken a swipe at Jamaica's social structures, saying they have failed to protect the welfare of the island's children.

"Statistics on abuse in children, street children, children in conflict with the law, and other vulnerable and marginalised groups are a stark reminder of the failure of our society to provide care and nurturing for our children," said protection specialist at UNICEF, Janet Cupidon-Quallo.

She said stronger social interventions were needed to promote the rights of children, as well as create opportunities for their survival.