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

The right of children not to be physically and or sexually abused needs to be brought to the forefront of public consciousness in the Barbadian society, says Minister of Family, Youth, Sports and Environment, Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.

While delivering an address yesterday at the Hilton Barbados at the launch of a children’s cartoon booklet on the 19th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Dr. Byer Suckoo said suggestions needed to be offered and initiatives taken to combat the scourge of child abuse.

“As such, the launch of a children’s cartoon booklet, designed to contribute to the awareness of young children of their rights, is timely and needed at this crucial juncture… Knowledge is power and our children need to be provided with information as a part of a safety net in the prevention and reduction of the prevalence of injustices against them. The booklet can therefore be viewed as an empowerment tool for children,” she told the gathering.

The Minister expressed the view that parenting in today’s society was not an easy task. “Some of our children are left to raise themselves due to the hectic lifestyles of parents stemming from, in some instances, job pressures and financial commitments. This may result in neglect and physical abuse.

“Some parents have little or no support from the extended family, or they may no longer exist. This may lead to some parents experiencing high levels of frustration resulting in physical abuse and neglect. In addition, a lot of parents are unaware of some of the possible dangers their children are exposed to and as such, they are ill-equipped to educate and protect them from the possibility of abuse,” she said.

As a result, Dr. Byer Suckoo stated, parents needed a resource kit to assist them, and she suggested that the cartoon booklet should be a part of such a kit. She added that it was an educational tool which should be on the booklist of primary school children and in their libraries to ensure that all children have access to it.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international convention setting out the civil, political, economic and socio-cultural rights of children.

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