JIS News

Story Highlights

  • CDA is calling on community members to be more proactive in reporting incidents of child abuse.
  • Some communities have been “quick” in reporting child abuse, while others are “silent”.
  • Persons who fail to report an abuse or harm to a child could face a fine of $500,000 and/or six months imprisonment

The Child Development Agency (CDA) is calling on community members to be more proactive in reporting incidents of child abuse.

Reports of abuse, neglect and abandonment are received and investigated by the CDA, which determines the steps to be taken in the best interest of the child. Information on child abuse is also received by the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), set up under the Child Care and Protection Act, 2004.

Manager of the Investigation Unit at the CDA, Beverley McHugh, told JIS News that some communities have been “quick” in reporting child abuse, while others are “silent” and do nothing for a long time.

“For example, they are aware of the abuse happening to a child and they do nothing for months and months until something terrible happens and then they say, ‘this is it’,” she said.

Mrs. McHugh is reminding citizens that they have a duty to report child abuse. She mentioned the Child Care and Protection Act (CCPA), 2004, which states that any person who suspects that a child has been or is likely to be abandoned, neglected, physically or sexually ill-treated, or is otherwise in need of care and protection, is obligated to make a report to the Children’s Registry.

Persons who fail to report an abuse or harm to a child could face a fine of $500,000 and/or six months imprisonment, she added.

Mrs. McHugh commended community members who have been helping CDA officers in carrying out their work when they go into the different areas. “They are very supportive…you go in and they tell you where to find the abused child,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Investigation Manager is urging citizens not to make false reports to the CDA or the OCR, noting that the CDA has been faced with the challenge of persons making “malicious” reports.

“When you go in (the community) there is nothing of that nature (abuse) and then it has wasted your time and effort when you would have been able to look at somebody else who really needs it,” she said, adding that most of the malicious reports are made by persons who might have had disagreements with individuals.