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Story Highlights

  • The move is in keeping with recommendations coming out of a recent baseline study conducted by the agency.
  • Information coming out of the research shows that while the level of awareness of child abuse is high, the reporting of such incidents is low.
  • The OCR receives a report on child abuse every 30 minutes.

The Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) will be intensifying its public education thrust in order to encourage more citizens to report cases of child abuse.

The move is in keeping with recommendations coming out of a recent baseline study conducted by the agency, through United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), geared towards ascertaining the current views, knowledge, practices and behaviour towards child abuse in the country.

Registrar at the OCR, Greig Smith, said that information coming out of the research shows that while the level of awareness of child abuse is high, the reporting of such incidents is low.

“Many persons are discouraged to report because the fear of the perpetrator and the lack of confidence in the reporting system,” Mr. Smith said.

He was speaking at the 8th staging of the Caribbean Child Research Conference on November 6 at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown Kingston.

Mr. Smith said that coming out of the study, the agency will also be providing more information on alternative ways of disciplining children, which are not regarded as abusive.  “Parents appear to resort to shouting and seem to choose this almost automatically,” he stated.

He gave the commitment that the recommendations from the study will be implemented in the best interest of the nation’s children.  “We can make a difference; let us choose to care and protect and not harm and neglect our children,” he urged.

There were 8,030 reported cases of child abuse between January and August 2013.  Of the total 1,253 cases were reported in May and 1,069 in August. Mr. Smith informed that the OCR receives a report on child abuse every 30 minutes.

As it relates to missing children, Mr. Smith reported that approximately 1,730 children went missing in Jamaica between January and September this year.

He informed that of that figure, 1,406 children were recovered through the Ananda Alert System. “We are yet to account for 314 children and 10 of our children were found dead from those who were reported missing,” he said.

The two-day Caribbean Child Research Conference, which is being staged under theme: ‘Beyond 2015: Safeguarding Our Children’s Future’, aims to examine the progress made since 2000, when many nations committed to eight millennium development goals (MDGs).

The main objectives of the annual conference are to: provide a forum for children and adults to present their research on child-related issues; promote a culture of research among students in the high schools in the Caribbean, by facilitating the presentation by students of their research, and awarding a prize to an outstanding child researcher; and disseminate findings on child-related research.