Dr. Byer Suckoo: Speak Out About Child Abuse

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Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo

Barbadians are being urged to speak out about all forms of child abuse.

Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, called on mothers especially, not to be quiet and pretend it was not occurring, but to treat it as an "ugly, heinous" crime.

She made the comments last evening while addressing the Anglican Youth Ministry Council’s March and Rally in Independence Square.

"Our children are being abused in so many ways … Every month the Child Care Board gets new cases of children who have been abused in one way or another – sexual abuse, physical abuse, children who are victims of domestic violence, emotional abuse, abandonment and neglect," she pointed out.

"Child prostitution occurs in this country and we know child labour and pornography are also issues around the world, as well as trafficking of children. We haven’t seen much of that, but we are vigilant … because we know that if it is happening across the waters that we are not shielded from it. So, we have to work to put the necessary systems in place to prevent some of these things from happening," Dr. Byer Suckoo emphasised.

The Minister promised that Government would continue to offer support to the family in the areas of prevention of child abuse and the provision of a social safety network, as well as rehabilitation and care.

She maintained: "We will not relent until every child can be guaranteed safety here in Barbados …We cannot sit back and allow our children to be robbed of their future. Government will continue to raise the awareness of child abuse so that society abhors this crime… We will see to it that stiffer penalties are put in place."

Dr. Byer Suckoo revealed that local laws were currently being reviewed to ensure they were harmonised, and she pointed out that any gaps in the legislation would be dealt with urgently, seriously and adequately. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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