Ten years after the Child Care Board (CCB) introduced its Child Abuse Schools’ Project, Senior Child Care Officer and Child Abuse Coordinator, Colin St. Hill, is reporting some measure of success.

Mr. St. Hill disclosed that over 5,000 children in most, if not all, of the primary schools across the island had been sensitised and the programme was being repeated in some of the educational institutions.

Explaining the importance of this project, he said: "Children would not generally be aware of child abuse. But, because of our programme, children are able to identify child abuse, they are armed with information on how to keep safe, and what to do if they are abused.

"So, they learn, for example, what are good and bad secrets, what is a good touch versus a bad one and the parts of their body. We also endeavour to reinforce the message by showing a DVD."

Mr. St. Hill added that the Board was interested in strengthening what the children were being taught in school by educating parents about child abuse. He, therefore, urged parents to attend the sensitisation sessions whenever they were announced by the Parent Teacher Association.

Students of the Lawrence T. Gay, Cuthbert Moore and Arthur Smith are currently being exposed to the Child Abuse Schools’ Project this term.

Child abuse usually occurs with a person the minor is familiar with four major categories are: neglect, physical abuse, emotional abuse and child sexual abuse. During the 2008 to 2009 period, 159 cases of child abuse were reported to the CCB. saustin@barbados.gov.bb

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