JIS News

The increase in violence among children has prompted the launch of the Ministry of Health’s newest programme, ‘Raising Children to Resist Violence’, which seeks to increase awareness and change behavioural patterns among parents and children.
“We have noted the vulnerability of our children to violence and the only way to effectively correct this, we have observed, is to change behaviour from an early age,” said Dr. Elizabeth Ward, Director of Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Health, in an interview with JIS News.
This initiative is a collaborative effort between the Ministry of Health and the Violence Prevention Centre.
Booklets and pamphlets entitled ‘Raising Children to Resist Violence’ (Levels 1 and 2), provide parents, teachers and children with important information on ways to reduce the incidences of violence towards and among children, in the home and school environment.
Dr. Ward observed that the society has become increasingly contemporary and as such, has moved away from the conventional practices of family bonding.The role of caregivers and baby sitters in some households has been substituted by the television, and as such, youngsters in these households are more predisposed to violent behaviour.
Research collated by the Ministry of Health has shown that children who watch more than 20 hours of television are more prone to violent behaviour than children who do not.
“This information has been field tested, ‘Jamaicanised’, customised and evaluated, therefore we are confident that this information can and will be useful,” said Dr. Ward, noting that this initiative was superior than those previously tried.
Most importantly however, the Ministry of Health will be working closely with parents, schools and organisations that have expressed interest in the initiative, to assist in the implementation exercise. It is hoped that this interaction will make the initiative successful.
Dr. Ward suggested too, that parents needed to be more aggressive in their supervisory efforts. In so doing, they could implement bans and control the television programmes watched by their children. This was the first step in ensuring that children are protected, she said.
She told JIS News that the success of this initiative would not be noted immediately, rather it was a building process in which all caregivers and children could grow and learn in order to change their behaviour.
The ‘Raising Children to Resist Violence’ booklets have ensured that alternatives and guidelines are presented to both teachers and parents who, unknowingly or knowingly, influence children to act violently.
The booklets are available at pharmacies and supermarkets islandwide at a cost of $100 (per pair).

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