#Nassau, March 29, 2019 – Bahamas – Child abuse can short circuit children’s ability to lead balanced, wholesome lives, and ultimately become productive members of society, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said Wednesday.
Addressing a Press Conference held to announce plans for the observance of Child Protection Month (the Month has been observed annually in April in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas since 1992, marking 27 consecutive years) — Minister Campbell said child abuse can have lingering effects on its victims.
“The (negative impacts of child abuse) intrude in unexpected ways through panic attacks and insomnia; through dreams; through seemingly inexplicable compulsions, uncontrollable behaviours, drug abuse, suicide, thoughts of suicide, depression, low self-esteem, criminality, promiscuity and so many other negative physical, behavioural, psychological and social challenges,” Minister Campbell said.
“We must therefore be careful in the way we treat our children. We are building a person whom we want to be balanced and whole and ultimately a productive member of society. Child abuse short-circuits this process.”
The Child Protection Unit, Department of Social Services, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, in conjunction with the National Child Protection Council (NCPC) and the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Unit of the Ministry of Health, have aligned to stage a number of activities as part of the education and awareness campaign. The Month will be observed under the theme: “Every Child Safe, Every Community Aware: No Excuse for Child Abuse.”
Minister Campbell said the focus on education and awareness with regards to the negative impacts of child abuse, and education and awareness as it relates to child protection strategies, is a very important one as education and awareness “removes every excuse for child abuse.”
“The theme is all-inclusive, highlighting first of all the safety and protection of children, [while] pointing out the responsibility of stakeholders to bring about community awareness not just to all forms of abuse, but to prevention and treatment methods as well,” Minister Campbell said.
“Included in awareness is sensitivity to the rights of the child, the right to life, healthcare, nurture, education, privacy, protection and so many others, not the least of which is love. Awareness removes every excuse for child abuse.”
Minister Campbell said parents and/or guardians play vital roles in child protection.
“Be good parents. Know where your children are at all times. Ensure that your children are supervised at all times. Be vigilant with whom you leave them because abusers usually include persons whom you know and trust. Encourage children to travel in groups, and supervise their use of the Internet.
“Sadly, child protection is not given the priority that it deserves by the community and too often, is minimized. Children are treated as if they do not have a voice, thoughts, or emotions, but a child is a person, worthy of love and respect and should be treated as such.
“Parents and guardians are given the awesome responsibility by God of developing a well-balanced person, and if a child is abused, that balance will not be achieved.
“I take this opportunity to admonish each of you as parents, guardians and communities to do your part in ensuring the safety of our precious children. The future of our nation depends on it.”
By Matt Maura
Photo Caption: Minister Campbell, at podium, Wednesday, announced Child Protection Month (April) at the Hearing Room/Social Services.
(BIS Photo/Derek Smith)