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JIS News

Residents of various communities in St. Ann turned out in large numbers for the Social Development Commission’s (SDC) Community Month Symposium, which was held recently at the St. Mark’s Anglican Church Hall in Brown’s Town.
The event was held under the theme: ‘Communities protecting children, protecting our future’.
Team Leader at the Child Development Agency (CDA) in St. Ann, Maxine Gilmore-Bagalue, in her address at the event, lamented the recent incidents of violence against the nation’s children.
“Over the past months, we have become accustomed to hearing the woes facing our children. Children are being abducted, raped and murdered. Far too many abuses are taking place in our communities today,” she stated, while informing that 13 cases of sexual abuse, seven cases of physical abuse and two cases of abandonment were reported to the CDA during the month of October.
She urged adults to take greater responsibility for the care and protection of children and suggested that parents form “patrol squads” to monitor the activities of children in school and in the wider community.
The CDA Team Leader further encouraged parents to “be patient with our children, show them love and understanding, spend quality time with them, listen to them and be very observant.”
Meanwhile, Clifford Morris, a resident of Chalky Hill, told JIS News that the symposium “was very informative and I commend the Social Development Commission and all the other agencies that came out to educate us on child abuse and the rights of the child.”
Ann Marie Williams from Priory said she learnt a lot from the various presenters and had collected information brochures to share with friends and family members, who were unable to attend.
“It was very informative. I’ve attended other symposiums and have found them to be long and boring but this was one with a difference. It was interactive and educational. The guest speakers were right on target and straight forward and I think that all who came out today learnt something,” she added.
Representatives from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Victims Support Unit and the Office of Children’s Registry, also made presentations at the forum.