Rights of Children Protected

Photo: Marlon Tingling Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, addresses a Child Justice Guidelines Training Seminar for attorneys-at-law, held at the Melia Braco Village Resorts in Trelawny on Saturday, December 10.

Story Highlights

  • Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Government is moving aggressively with the enactment of legislation to protect the rights of children.
  • “No one can deny the increase in public awareness relating to child abuse, sexual offences against children and corporal punishment. There is more information that is readily available on parenting and there is much discussion in the media about issues affecting children. More recently, we developed the child diversion policy which sets the framework for dealing with children in conflict with the law and in keeping with core convention principles that the best interest of the child should be paramount,” he said.

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck, says the Government is moving aggressively with the enactment of legislation to protect the rights of children.

Addressing a Child Justice Guidelines Training Seminar for attorneys-at-law at the Melia Braco Village Resorts in Trelawny on December 10, the Minister said Jamaica has already ratified conventions on the rights of the child and there have been several agencies set up to advocate on behalf of children.

“We have established the Child Development Agency, the Office of Children’s Registry and the Office of Children’s Advocate. Parliament has also enacted legislation relating to sexual offences.

Measures have been instituted to improve the way children who are in conflict with the law are treated,” he noted.

The Minister said that an on-going public education programme has also been implemented to bring matters relating to child abuse and other crimes against children to the forefront.

“No one can deny the increase in public awareness relating to child abuse, sexual offences against children and corporal punishment. There is more information that is readily available on parenting and there is much discussion in the media about issues affecting children. More recently, we developed the child diversion policy which sets the framework for dealing with children in conflict with the law and in keeping with core convention principles that the best interest of the child should be paramount,” he said.

“I believe it is fair to say that we have come a far way, but we still have a long way to go. We will enact, early next year, the Child Diversion Bill and we will be on a major campaign on child diversion, especially with the Police and with the Court staff to ensure that the children are treated in a special way,” the Minister added.

He also pointed out that efforts are being made to improve the court houses which are used for trial of cases involving children.

Meanwhile, the Minister commended the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) for hosting the training seminar. He also thanked the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) for its continued support and sponsorship of training sessions.

The training for attorneys-at-law is the third to be staged by the OCA, with sessions already held for Judges of the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and the Parish Court Judges.

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