JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Electronic billboards located at various sections of the Corporate Area will bear the faces of children reported missing
  • This was geared at improving the effectiveness of the Ananda Alert System
  • OCR received 2,834 reports of known or suspected cases of child abuse January to March 2013

By the end of this month, electronic billboards located at various sections of the Corporate Area will bear the faces of children reported missing by the police.

This was disclosed by the Registrar, Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) Greig Smith during a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister on Friday, September 6.

He noted that this was geared at improving the effectiveness of the Ananda Alert System.

“We have allocated a tune of $3.4 million for the running of electronic billboards and so we ask corporate Jamaica to come on board with us to help us off set some of these cost,” Mr. Smith said.

He also informed that the OCR is in discussion with the National Council of Taxi Associations to have the pictures of missing children placed in their vehicles.

“We have gotten the endorsement from the western region… route taxies in Montego Bay have pledged that they will place those photographs of those children on their taxies until they are found,” Mr. Smith stated.

Meanwhile, preliminary data for the quarter January to March 2013 showed that the OCR received 2,834 reports of known or suspected cases of child abuse.

“This is of great concern to the entire Jamaican population. One missing or abused child should not be an option. And we still continue to record these numbers in the hundreds,” Mr. Smith said.

Also for the period January to December 2012, the OCR received 8,741 reports of child abuse, with neglect being the highest at 4,428. There were 209 and five reports of child labour and child trafficking cases, respectively.

He noted that through the Ananda Alert Secretariat, it is expected that the public’s awareness will be increased and communities will be propelled into action.

Mr. Smith added that for the Ananda Alert system to work effectively, a major part of the process has to be concentrated around sensitising the public and the search and rescue component.

“We have to stay present in the minds of the people. The relevance of our mandate has to resonate with the public and so we continue to utilise whatever resources we can manage to make this happen,” he stated.

Between April and July a number of public education activities regarding the Ananda Alert programme and child abuse, were carried out in various communities. These include school tours, and consultations with bus operators and Jamaica Urban Transit Company staff members. Some 13,000 adults and children were directly impacted, the OCR says.

The Ananda Alert is a nationwide system, designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child in the unfortunate event that he/she is missing or abducted.

Under the Ananda Alert System, when a child is reported missing, their name and picture are publicised on various media, such as television, radio, billboards and multimedia equipment in stores, supermarkets, pharmacies, and other locations.