JIS News

State Minister in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Robert Morgan, says that the 211 child abuse helpline, launched in September, is yielding results.

He noted that children, as well as concerned members of the public, have been reporting incidents of abuse through this medium.

“Since the launch of 211 in September, we have received over 6,000 calls to the hotline, many of them children who have been abused and many adults who have either heard of or seen abuse,” he said.

The State Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Optimist International Caribbean District’s flagship project, ‘Mentorship For At- Risk Youth’ on Wednesday (October 27) at the YMCA, in St. Andrew.

The 24-hour child abuse helpline can be dialed from a cellular or landline telephone free of cost. It replaces 888-PROTECT.

It is operated by trained officers from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) through the National Children’s Registry.

Mr. Morgan said that the 211 helpline forms part of strategic efforts by the Ministry to empower youth to protect themselves by reporting incidents of child abuse that they may face, while at the same time reducing the incidents of violence against them.

Other initiatives in this regard, include amendment to the Childcare and Protection Act, to involve repeal of section 24, which gives discretion to judges to incarcerate children without charge in penal institutions; as well as a total ban on corporal punishment.

The ban, Mr. Morgan said, will be preceded by a public education campaign through the Ministry’s ‘Good Parenting’ initiative.

“We want to beak the culture that responds to every infraction or act of indiscipline or conflict with violence,” he pointed out.

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