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  • The Government has developed a national plan of action as it intensifies its drive to effectively tackle the issue of violence against children in Jamaica.
  • Minister Hanna, who noted that the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence aims to create and maintain a protective environment, supportive of children and responsive to violence against them.
  • The Minister noted in addition, that the Government has made a number of changes to children’s services in Jamaica with the aim of improving care and preventing violence.

The Government has developed a national plan of action as it intensifies its drive to effectively tackle the issue of violence against children in Jamaica.

This was disclosed by Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who noted that the National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence aims to create and maintain a protective environment, supportive of children and responsive to violence against them.

The Minister was addressing the opening session of the United Nations (UN) Cross Regional Meeting for Advancing the Protection of Children from Violence at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Monday, June 30.

“The Plan of Action is underpinned by a holistic rights-based approach at both the national and local levels with specific short-term and long-term targets. The plan requires a multi-sectoral approach for eliminating violence against children,” she said.

The Minister noted in addition, that the Government has made a number of changes to children’s services in Jamaica with the aim of improving care and preventing violence.

She said these changes are being effected through: increased capital expenditure for the upgrading of state care institutions, including allocations towards significantly improving the care offered in our institutions; ensuring that the right people with the right skills, training and attitude are in the positions to take care of the nation’s children; and implementing co-curricular and extra-curricular programmes as well as training in social graces.

The Minister noted that the Government is also making amendments to the legislation/regulation to enhance child care and protection; strengthening and expanding parental training programmes; and extending and expanding child rights education programme in schools and communities across the island while increasing the locations and avenues for the reporting of suspected or actual child abuse.

“These initiatives will be complemented by the introduction of the following into our child care system over the medium to long term: a new Case Management System as part of the technological upgrade to bolster our efforts to standardise and harmonise services to children; a model child care centre to point the way to new standards of care; and therapeutic facility to cater to the needs of a significant cohort of children in care.

The Minister further pointed out that as the Government continues to improve its national and regional monitoring and evaluation systems, “we will continue to shine light on the hidden, unreported and under-recorded reality of child abuse”.

“We must be ready to provide the therapeutic interventions necessary for our child victims, the appropriate sanctions for the perpetrators and the urgent mechanisms to prevent further abuse,” she said.

Miss Hanna noted that violence against children is pervasive in every country and the collective concern over the next two days of the meeting “is to devise strategies to ensure that every child, everywhere, is able to live a happy life, free from violence”.

The two-day United Nations Cross-Regional meeting is being jointly hosted by Minister Hanna and the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, Marta Santos País.

The high level round-table is expected to develop strategic recommendations on how the various regions of the world can collaborate on preventing and responding to violence against children.