- Reports of child abuse are handled in a confidential manner at the OCR.
- The Registrar can only disclose the content of a report if summoned by the Court, the DPP or a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
- The OCR provides a confidential system to receive, record, assess and refer reports of child abuse for investigation.
Registrar of the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Greg Smith, is assuring the public that reports of child abuse are handled in a confidential manner at the OCR.
“I want to assure the public that once you make a report to the Children’s Registry that information is kept confidential,” he said.
Mr. Smith told JIS News that under section 10 of the Children’s Registry Regulations, the Registrar can only disclose the content of a report if summoned by the Court, the Director of Public Prosecutions or a Deputy Commissioner of Police.
The Registrar’s comments come in light of information coming out of a recent baseline study conducted by the agency, through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), geared towards ascertaining the current views, knowledge, practices and behaviour towards child abuse in the country.
He said the information shows that many persons are discouraged to report on child abuse, because of the fear of the perpetrator and the lack of confidence in the reporting system.
“We assure you and we encourage you that once you decide to break the silence of child abuse your information at the Office of the Children’s Registry is kept confidential,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Smith said the identity and other details of the person making the report cannot be divulged to the authorities at the Child Development Agency (CDA) or the police and is only known by the Registration Officer, who took the information on the phone and the person submitting the information.
“If it is breached by the staff at the OCR, the person can be charged $500,000 or six months imprisonment or both and if they delete any information from the report submitted by you, then they can be charged $250,000.00 and/or three months imprisonment,” he explained.
“We want to make Jamaica a safe place for children and the only way we can do that is for you to report any suspected case of child abuse that is happening to our children. Let it be part of our responsibility to protect our children,” Mr. Smith added.
Explaining the reporting process, Mr. Smith said that persons providing information to the Registry are given a special case ID number, which can be used to follow up on the status of the report.
“If you decide to remain anonymous we will not give you a case ID number, but we will encourage you to continue protecting our nation’s children and you can continue to call the Registry to make a report,” he said, noting that the matter reported will be investigated.
The OCR provides a confidential system to receive, record, assess and refer reports of child abuse for investigation and maintains a register of such reports.
Persons wishing to make a report to the OCR can call 1-888-PROTECT (1-888-776-8328) or 908-2132, 822-7031, 878-2882, 618-5888 (Digicel), 631-8933 (Flow), 631-8908 (Flow). Persons can also complete a reporting form (available at the OCR or CDA offices islandwide) and submit it to the OCR’s head office at 12 Carlton Crescent, Kingston 10 or fax to 908-2579 or email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.