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Church to unite against child abuse

Published:Thursday | June 7, 2012 | 12:00 AM

PARTICIPANTS AT a public forum on child abuse held at the Webster Memorial Church last week recommended a civil service coalition in dealing with the national problem of child abuse.

The recommendation specifically called on the church to form a united front as a more realistic approach in addressing the problem.

The forum was the second in a series hosted by the church designed to address issues affecting the church, and citizens in general. The theme of the discussion was: 'Building on the Outrage: Strategies for Care and Protection of our Children'. Leading the discussions was a seven-person panel comprising representatives from a range of agencies and organisations that relate to childcare and protection services.

Propose strategies

Host pastor, the Reverend Astor Carlyle, in his welcome address invited the participants to propose strategies for addressing the concerns. He agreed that common expressions of outrage against activities that undermine the innocence and potentialities of our children by the church and others in the society were not enough if not translated into tangible sustainable action.

Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse head, Superintendent Gladys Brown, held the audience spellbound as she described a number of cases of child abuse dealt with by her agency that highlighted the need for more urgent interventions.

Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, expressed the hope that more parents would be provided with access to parent support mechanisms. Mark Jonas said more attempts should be made to sensitise Jamaicans to the problem as a deterrent to the incidence of sexual abuse against children. Another clear recommendation from all the panellists was that children should be taught to report the actions of suspected abusers.