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Story Highlights

  • OCR has received some $200 million in Government allocation over the past seven years.
  • Over the past seven years, the OCR has received more than 40,000 reports of known or suspected child abuse.
  • The Registry uses social media and established Facebook and Twitter accounts to reach out to its target audiences.

The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) has received some $200 million in Government allocation over the past seven years, as it carries out its work aimed at reducing the incidence of child abuse in the country.

Registrar of the OCR, Greig Smith, made the revelation as he gave an overview of the agency’s operations at a 7th anniversary church service held on Sunday, January 19, at the Bethel United Church in Kingston under the theme: “Be the change, speak out, protect our children”.

Mr. Smith said that from its establishment in January 2007 to present, the staff complement at the OCR has increased from one to 22. The agency, which once shared office space with the Child Development Agency (CDA), is now located at 12 Carlton Crescent, Half-Way-Tree Road in Kingston.

“We have grown from taking reports over the phone and writing them down manually to now taking reports and immediately entering them electronically into a child abuse database,” Mr. Smith informed, noting that the reports are also entered into the Children’s Registry processing system.

Over the past seven years, he said, the OCR has received more than 40,000 reports of known or suspected child abuse, with more than 8,000 such reports received in 2013.

“This is a marked increase from the 455 reports received in our first year of operation. In 2008, 3,973 reports were received while 6,439 reports were received in 2009; 6,330 in 2010; 7,826 in 2011; 8,741 in 2012,” he informed.

The Registrar said the increase in the number of reports conveys a growing confidence in the mission of the Registry.

“The increase also suggests a heightened awareness amongst persons of the OCR and their legal obligation to report known or suspected incidents of child abuse. Indeed, we can say that persons are speaking out and reporting child abuse,” he added.

Mr. Smith also attributed the increase in reports to the OCR’s public education activities in collaboration with other partner agencies. He informed that the agency has conducted over 250 presentations with various groups and participated in several media interviews on radio and television as well as produced and aired public service announcements.

Additionally, Mr. Smith said the Registry utilized social media and established Facebook and Twitter accounts to reach out to its target audiences. An electronic magazine titled, E-zine will also soon be released, he added.

An agency of the Ministry of Youth and Culture, the main role of the OCR is to receive and maintain a register of reports of children, who have been, are being or are likely to be abandoned, neglected, or abused, or are otherwise in need of care and protection.

After receiving these reports, the Children’s Registry records, assesses and then refers them for investigation and action.