On the eve of a radio campaign to “Stop the Abuse” of children, Minister of Youth, Family and Sports, Esther Byer Suckoo, announced that a parenting programme, starting with a train-the-trainers’ series, was coming.
She was speaking at the launch of the campaign, which will get under way from Tuesday, April 14, with the airing of two public service announcements (PSAs).
“I think our society, by its silence, has condoned what is going on. So the train-the-trainers series will train individuals who will then go into the communities and train parents because some parents do not seem to understand what abuse is,” Dr. Byer Suckoo said.
The Minister also stated that although child abuse did not always happen in the home, the education of parents was critical in fighting the sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children.
“Although there are agencies that are doing this type of work already, they need support. They need institutional strengthening and they may even need funding. I know that they have ideas that needed to be brought to fruition. That is where the Ministry of Family is poised right now,” she stated.
Also speaking at the launch was the President of Parent Education for Development of Children in Barbados (PAREDOS), Retired Justice, Leroy Inniss, who thanked the partners for their support as the institution continued to encourage and empower parents to cut out child abuse at its very source.
He said that: “The entire society suffers if we have a group of children growing up who are abused persons. They can’t perform as they should at school. They don’t rest properly.
They are disruptive. They sometimes influence adversely their colleagues, and the cycle continues. We hope that this effort is only one more step in the journey that we have to take to wipe out the scourge that is child abuse.”
Director of PAREDOS, Marva Springer, called for more research of a wider scope to give agencies such as the Child Care Board and PAREDOS more accurate information. “We do know that the number of reported cases of child abuse has increased. So, more research would allow for the creation of more targeted and sustained programmes,” she said.
In response, Minister Byer Suckoo pointed out that her Ministry was aware of the need for research in the area of child abuse, and was in the process of identifying what the challenges were and the specific areas of parenting education that were needed. She also revealed that the train-the trainers’ programme would culminate with the production of a standardised training manual.
Carolyn Vaughn, of SOJE/Lonsdale, pointed out that the broadcast of the PSAs was but the first step. “The spots will run indefinitely … but we really want to get into the communities to do community outreach… to create abuse-free communities [which are] proud of their status,” she remarked.
The PSA’s, sponsored by SuperCentre Limited, were created by SOJE/Lonsdale Communications, with the support of PAREDOS, in conjunction with the Child Care Board and the Ministry of Youth, Family and Sports.