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  • Registrar of the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Grieg Smith, is appealing for Jamaicans to rise up against violence and abuse of the nation’s children.
  • Stating that the Registry has collected over 47,000 cases of child abuse over its eight years of existence, he said the incidence of violence against children “must stop.”
  • Mr. Smith was speaking at the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Nation’s Children and Families held today (May 27), at Faith Apostolic Ministries in Kingston.

Registrar of the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Grieg Smith, is appealing for Jamaicans to rise up against violence and abuse of the nation’s children.

Stating that the Registry has collected over 47,000 cases of child abuse over its eight years of existence, he said the incidence of violence against children “must stop.”

“The only way that is going to happen is if, as a people, and a nation, we rise up. The Office of the Children’s Registry and the Child Development Agency (CDA) can’t do it alone. We cannot allow this violence against our children to continue,” he stressed.

Mr. Smith was speaking at the Day of Prayer and Fasting for the Nation’s Children and Families held today (May 27), at Faith Apostolic Ministries in Kingston.

The prayer session, organised by the National Child Month Committee (NCMC), saw representatives from various entities praying for the country’s children.

These included the CDA, the Ministry of Education, Ministry of National Security, and OCR. Digicel Jamaica also turned out in support of the initiative.

Students from several Corporate Area schools were in attendance such as Allman Town and Franklin Town Primary, as well as Branches of the Vine Nursery and Pre-School.

The day long initiative, under the theme: ‘Children’s Safety and Security – Our Priority, ‘was part of a larger thrust of the NCMC to bring together the agencies and various stakeholders that work for the interest of children and combine their efforts to address the needs of the nation’s youth.

Acting Assistant Chief Education Officer, Media Services Unit, Ministry of Education, Winnie Berry, said the plague of violence must first be eliminated if the Ministry is to realise its mandate of developing the children of the nation.

“Our mantra that every child can learn and every child must learn can only be realised if we are first able to create an environment in which our children …feel safe” she said.

Chairperson of the NCMC, Dr. Pauline Mullings, said that adults need to reflect on the part they have played in “creating the national crises of the violent acts that have been perpetrated against children”.

“We need to look at ourselves and we need to look at the mess we have created in our children. Our children are the way they are because adults have not done what they should have done. Many adults refuse to do what needs to be done,” she lamented.

The NCMC aims to raise public awareness about the issues surrounding child abuse and mobilise resources to support child-focused programmes.

It is comprised of representatives of several private and public institutions. These include the CDA, Early Childhood Commission (ECC), Grace Kennedy Limited, OCR and Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA).