Another shocking revelation on children in Guyana was made by the Ministry of Social Protection on Sunday with a report compiled by the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) that 3129 children in Guyana are facing some form of abuse in 2020.
More shocking is the fact that abuse and sexual neglect are high on the types of abuse. In the high category of sexual abuse, the CCPA found that 688 women had been sexually abused, with 382 between the ages of 14 and 18 being abused at home. It is also strange that many of these women have been raped and abused by people brought into the homes, especially by their mothers. A further 632 women faced neglect, while 258 were physically abused, 104 verbally abused, 12 witnessed abuse and four abandoned. The 8-13 age group had the highest percentage of victims of abuse with 579, followed by the 14-18 age group with 544, then the 4-7 age group with 288, and the 0- 3 with 287.
Globally, shocking numbers of children experience violence, in various forms, often from those entrusted with their care. Although girls are mostly victims of sexual abuse, boys also experience abuse as well. The latest CCPA report also revealed that 1431 boys had been abused and 751 of them were neglected. This type of abuse was common among boys aged 0-13, accounting for 674 victims. A further 432 boys experienced physical abuse, 127 were sexually abused, 102 were verbally abusive, 10 were abandoned, and nine witnessed abuse.
The figures in relation to this level of abuse are shocking and it is quite clear that the Government and international partners need to keep the issue on the front burner where it is always treated as an issue of serious concern. However, more alarmingly, 42 percent of the 2822 perpetrators who committed these heinous acts were mothers. Records showed that many of them had physically abused their children. CCPA records also revealed that 596 fathers and 172 grandparents numbered among the abusers.
In seeking to end violence against children, the United Nations International Children’s Crisis Fund (UNICEF) made several recommendations, which, if taken seriously, could go a long way in protecting our children. Recommendations include: i) Adopting well co-ordinated national action plans to end violence against children – incorporating education, social welfare, justice and health systems, as well as communities and children themselves. ii) Changing adult behavior and tackling factors that contribute to violence against children, including economic and social inequalities, violence-tolerant social and cultural norms, inadequate policies and legislation, inadequate victim services, and limited investments in effective prevention and response systems. in violence. iii) Focus national policies on reducing violent behavior, reducing inequalities, and restricting access to firearms and other weapons. iv) Build social services systems and train social workers to provide referrals, counseling and therapeutic services for children who have experienced violence. v) Educate children, parents, teachers and community members to recognize violence in all its forms and empower them to speak out and report violence safely. vi) Collect better disaggregated data on violence against children and track progress through robust monitoring and evaluation.
Children, regardless of ethnic, religious, cultural or social background, deserve to grow up in an environment where they feel safe and part of loving and nourishing families.
We, therefore, support the passionate plea of ​​the Minister for Human Services and Social Security, Dr Vindhya Persaud to mothers – who may be driven by economic hardship and financial opportunism – to “take great care of the people you are letting them into your homes … you expose your children to anonymity, and you place your children in harm’s way sometimes. Be very aware of your child’s location and who you are leaving your child with. “

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