Top Cop Undertakes Project To Protect Children From Abuse

Photo: JIS Photographer Lasco/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) 2015 Police Officer of the Year, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo (left), is in conversation with Deputy Commissioner of Police, Novlette Grant at a Discussion Forum on gender-based violence, hosted by the Bureau of Women Affairs in partnership with the Management Institute for National Development (MIND), on December 4, at MIND’s Old Hope Road offices, St. Andrew.

Story Highlights

  • Lasco/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Police Officer of the Year, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo, has embarked on a project to protect children from abuse.
  • The Detective Sergeant tells JIS News that she is looking to expand the project to reach children across the island. She expects to print and distribute a total of 3,000 copies by January 2016, through the support of Lasco.
  • The 2015/16 Police Officer of the Year is a member of the Inspectorate Division of the constabulary.

Lasco/Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) Police Officer of the Year, Detective Sergeant Ava Lindo, has embarked on a project to protect children from abuse.

Using poster messages created by children from across the Corporate Area, who participated in a child abuse workshop earlier this year, she has designed the ‘I am a Child’ notebooks, which bear messages that provide guidance and advice for children.

“From the sensitisation workshop, the children made posters about what it means when a child is abused, and what message they would want parents and other children to know.

“So for example, one child said, ‘I am a child, don’t neglect me’; another wrote, ‘Keep your children safe from harm’; and one said, ‘Stop violating the children’; while another wrote, ‘I will not keep silent’. These were all based on their understanding and the messages that they want to send,” Detective Sergeant Lindo explained in an interview with JIS News.

These messages are on the outside covers of the exercise books, while the inside covers provide tips for children, ranging from advice about inappropriate touching to what to do if they have been abused.

There is also advice for parents, including the need for them to pay keen attention to their children’s friends as well as to engage them in conversation about what is appropriate and inappropriate sexual touching.

Some 400 of these books have been distributed to children so far. They were first gifted as part of a back-to-school treat in Waltham Park in August.

The Detective Sergeant tells JIS News that she is looking to expand the project to reach children across the island. She expects to print and distribute a total of 3,000 copies by January 2016, through the support of Lasco.

She strongly believes that the ‘I am a Child’ notebooks will have a significant impact in protecting vulnerable children.

She notes that it is designed to promote awareness so that children can know who to turn to and where to seek help if they are in trouble.

“Remember that there are some homes where parents are not talking to children about these things…so I am hoping that when the child gets it (the notebook), he or she will share it with someone else and the parent can also reinforce the information in it,” Detective Sergeant Lindo says.

The notebooks also provide contact information for the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), the Children’s Advocate, the Child Development Agency (CDA) and the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).

Meanwhile, the Lasco Top Cop, who is involved in a range of community service activities and projects, has spearheaded domestic and gender-based violence workshops over the year.

In October, she hosted a series of parenting workshops with parents, teachers and principals from the St. Andrew South and Central communities, which impacted some 120 persons.

Since June, she has produced and hosted 22 episodes of a one-hour live programme on Roots FM, addressing antisocial and violent behaviour among the youth. This is being done in partnership with the Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), St. Catherine.

“It’s good to have even just one person, who can give you hope. If I can be that support system for one young person, one child, one adult, one woman, one man…I will lend myself to that one person; if I am able to change one person at a time, that’s good enough,” she says.

The 2015/16 Police Officer of the Year is a member of the Inspectorate Division of the constabulary. She was selected in March from a field of 11 police officers from various departments of the force. In addition to a trophy, Lindo was awarded a cash prize of $250,000.

Detective Sergeant Lindo expresses appreciation to the JCF, of which she has been a member for 18 years, for providing her with holistic training and affording her the opportunity to have been part of a United Nations Peacekeeping Mission to Liberia, Africa.

Following that experience of interacting with women in Liberian communities, she was selected to be a part of a team dispatched to West Kingston to help in rebuilding relations between the community and the police.

She is hailing Lasco for supporting her work.

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