Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley

Sexual violence against children will be the focus of a two-day conference entitled: Combatting Sexual Violence Against Children in the Caribbean: From Isolated Actions to Integrated Strategies at the Hilton Barbados on Tuesday, November 20, and Wednesday, November 21.

It is being jointly hosted by United Nations (UN) agencies and the Government of Barbados as part of the UN Secretary General’s Campaign to End Violence Against Women. The conference will bring together ministers with responsibility for child protection, as well as others in the fields of law, policy reform, health and related sectors in an effort to fashion coordinated responses to the problem.

Barbados’ Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley; UN Resident Coordinator, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough; CARICOM Secretary General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; and UNICEF Regional Director, Bernt Aasen will deliver remarks at the opening ceremony tomorrow Tuesday, November 20, at 8:30 a.m.

Delegations from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the British Virgin Islands are expected in Barbados for the conference.

The events main objectives include the creation of a network among participating countries for exchange and cooperation at the regional level ensuring the visibility, dissemination and sharing of their various initiatives to end violence against children, as well as to arrive at a consensus on a country level action agenda.

The anticipated outcome will be political commitment for implementation and enforcement of mandatory reporting and follow through of child sexual abuse cases by professionals.

The meeting follows the special CARICOM Council on Human and Social Development in Guyana where ministers from throughout the region expressed grave concern about the alarming prevalence of sexual abuse of children in Member States and pledged to intensify efforts to deal with the social problems.


Author: Melissa Rollock/United Nations

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