JIS News

Children’s Advocate, Mary Clarke, has said that violence and abuse pose the greatest threat to the well-being of children.
Addressing a consultation on the rights of children on February 26, at the Golf View Hotel in Mandeville, where children and teachers were updated on the work of the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Mrs. Clarke said that the violence occurring in schools are distracting students from learning.
“We want our schools to be safe places for our children, and for there to be peace in schools, the teachers have a role to play. But more importantly, you as children have a greater responsibility not to carry weapons to places of learning, or have them with intentions of inflicting injuries to others,” she said.
The Children’s Advocate stressed that parents should search their children’s bags before they leave the home for school, and that should limit the frequency with which students are caught with offensive weapons. She also called on the children to be respectful at all times to authorities.
“As we seek to preserve your rights as children, you must respect your teachers and obey the rules of your schools,” Mrs. Clarke said.
She challenged the teachers to detect early behavioural and emotional problems and to do the necessary referrals, so that they can receive help.
Meanwhile, Legal and Policy Officer in the Office of the Children’s Advocate, Nichole Wright, told the participants that the most important concern of the Advocate is to stand up for what is in the best interest of children, which includes providing legal counsel.
“Our primary role is to be at the forefront of defending the best interest of children. We offer care and protection to children, such as legal representation if they are taken before the courts, and in situations where a child is involved in an incident and their parents are unable to meet legal costs, we are empowered to defend such cases to a satisfactory conclusion,” Miss Wright informed.
She added that the organization also assists in counselling children, provides financial help for those in need, and seeks help from other institutions to better the lives of children.

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