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  • cover up child abuse whether it is happening in your family or in your community...don’t shield your wife, mother, father, husband, boyfriend, sweetheart, sugar daddy, brother, uncle, neighbour or friend
  • We have to change what is happening to a number of our children in this country; it is our responsibility. If we fail them, we will fail Jamaica, and the next set of doctors, architects, engineers, practitioners of the media, prime ministers, ministers of government, our educators
  • The Unite For Change Initiative is a public education and behaviour change programme of the Ministry of National Security, aimed at tackling the nation’s crime problem

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has made an impassioned plea for Jamaicans to expose known perpetrators of child abuse, even if they are relatives or friends.

“Don’t cover up child abuse whether it is happening in your family or in your community…don’t shield your wife, mother, father, husband, boyfriend, sweetheart, sugar daddy, brother, uncle, neighbour or friend, if that person is hurting a child or is inappropriately involved with a child,” she urged.

Mrs. Simpson Miller was speaking at the Unite For Change National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston on Friday (June 19).

Stating that the “attacks on our children must stop,” the Prime Minister said child abuse can only be prevented when all members of families and communities break the culture of silence and tell the police what they know.

“Talk before the acts are committed as well as report what you know when children are abused or murdered,” she said.

All known or suspected cases of child abuse must be reported to the police, the Centre For the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), Child Development Agency, Office of the Children’s Advocate, and Office of the Children’s Registry.

Reaffirming the Government’s commitment to safeguarding the nation’s children, Mrs. Simpson-Miller said existing laws have been revised and new ones enacted to provide harsher penalties for offenders and hold parents and institutions accountable for the safety of children in their care..

She further noted that the agencies and institutions that monitor and protect the welfare of children are being strengthened.

The Prime Minister commended the Ministry of National Security and its many partners for the tremendous work that has gone into the Unite For Change initiative, which she said is “already bearing some fruit”.

She made her own call for all Jamaicans to unite for change, especially as it relates to the abuse of children.

“We have to change what is happening to a number of our children in this country; it is our responsibility. If we fail them, we will fail Jamaica, and the next set of doctors, architects, engineers, practitioners of the media, prime ministers, ministers of government, our educators,” she said.

This is the second staging of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention under the Unite for Change initiative. The one day event, under the theme: ‘Do the Right Thing: Volunteer in protecting our children,’ aims to increase volunteerism in areas that will cause the society to be more lawful, thereby creating a more protective environment for the nation’s children.

During the event, presentations were made by nine Ministers of Government and Ministry officials, including Minister with responsibility for Information, Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer; Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Bunting; Youth Advocates, officials of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs); and community-based entities.

The Unite For Change Initiative is a public education and behaviour change programme of the Ministry of National Security, aimed at tackling the nation’s crime problem.