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Terrelonge urges educators to safeguard rights of children

Friday, July 19, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Alando Terrelonge, is calling on educators to assist in safeguarding the rights of children by exposing abusers.

Addressing a Child Protection Seminar, held yesterday at the University of the West Indies in Mona, St Andrew, Terrelonge said when persons report suspected neglect and abuse of children, they are fulfilling their obligations under the law.

“If you suspect that a child is a victim of abuse, neglect or sexual violence, you have a duty and a responsibility to make a report. The law says you must call the police,” the state minister told his audience at the Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ)-organised event.

He added that with more than 80 per cent of children being exposed to various forms of violence, it is an “alarming” practice that must end, and households must find different ways to discipline children, as studies have shown that many children who are victims of violence become perpetrators of violence and crime.

Terelonge said the society needs to join the move to end corporal punishment in schools, as that and other attacks are “doing more harm to our children” rather than achieving behavioural change.

“Let us discipline our children with love, have conversations with them, let them explain to you what their understanding is on missteps that they have made,” he said.

The event was used to launch the JFJ and the Ministry's Child Protection Law Handbook for Educators and Childcare Workers.

Terrelonge said the publication sets out various aspects of the law to protect children and is easy to read, and that every school and childcare facility will get copies.

While encouraging educators to familiarise themselves with the book, Terrelonge underscored that if adults safeguard children's rights and treat them with human dignity, which every one of us would want for ourselves, then we will have a safer, better and more prosperous Jamaica.

The objective of the seminar was to provide legal literacy and human rights sensitisation to justice stakeholders with interest in child rights and child protection.

The handbook provides clear examples of child abuse and highlights the obligation of adults to take action against suspected perpetrators.


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