- OCR has appointed nine new Child Ambassadors who will help to raise awareness of issues surrounding child abuse and other matters affecting children across the island.
- The 2014 to 2016 group consists of eight girls and one boy, ranging in age from 11 to 16 years. They will serve for a period of two years.
- Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, hailed the Child Ambassador programme as an excellent one.
The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) has appointed nine new Child Ambassadors who will help to raise awareness of issues surrounding child abuse and other matters affecting children across the island.
The 2014 to 2016 group consists of eight girls and one boy, ranging in age from 11 to 16 years. They will serve for a period of two years.
The ambassadors are: Diandra Dixon of Ardenne High School; Zoe Lawrence, Yallahs High; Richard Bradshaw, Carron Hall High; Nicole Raymond, Westwood High; Suzanna Hyde, Mt. Alvernia Preparatory; Daniela Woodbine, Belmont Academy; Rueyella Blake, Manchester High; Kemoy Perry, Immaculate Conception High; and Kashielle Clarke, Glenmuir High.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, hailed the Child Ambassador programme as an excellent one, noting that children are more likely to talk to their peers when they are being abused.
Ms. Hanna was delivering the keynote address at the launch of the OCR’s Child Ambassador’s Awards Ceremony, held at the Spanish Court Hotel in Kingston, on Tuesday, June 10.
The Minister revealed that 41 per cent of the cases of child abuse reported to the OCR is about neglect, followed closely at 37 per cent by reports of children in need of care and protection. Cases of sexual abuse are third on the list of reported abuse cases, she noted.
She congratulated the new ambassadors on their appointment and urged them to work closely with the OCR, the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Ministry to devise ways to get children to speak out about their experiences.
“You are going to have to say to them ‘nothing is going to happen to you, you are protected; don’t let anybody tell you that you should not speak out, because you will bring shame on your family, or they will pay you’,” Minister Hanna said.
She advised the Ambassadors that the position comes with responsibility and charged them to carry themselves in a manner that will make others want to speak to them.
“It is a position that comes with tremendous integrity and that integrity means that you will have to carry yourself in a particular way that people will trust you, and that you hold what they say to you in a manner that gives them confidence that you are there to protect them,” the Minister said.
She reiterated that the Ministry and related agencies are not leaving anything to chance, so they are focused and strategic in their activities to improve the lives of the nation’s children.
Meanwhile, Children’s Registrar, Greig Smith, said the agency’s aim is to get children more actively involved in the fight to reduce and to eventually eliminate the phenomena of child abuse and missing children in Jamaica.
“We want to ensure that saving a child becomes everybody’s business, even that of the children themselves,” Mr. Smith said.
The programme began in 2012 with six child Ambassadors, one in each region represented by the Ministry of Education, serving a one-year term.
Mr. Smith said this year’s expanded programme will allow for children from various parts of the island to assist the OCR in getting the message out about child abuse, missing children and reporting procedures.