Government has embarked on a review of all legislation that impacts on children, with a view to better protecting that vulnerable segment of society.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steven Blackett, disclosed that the work was being done by UNICEF???s Children???s Champion, Faith Marshall-Harris, who had previously worked with the Child Care Board on its Mandatory Reporting Protocol.

He was speaking at a symposium on Child Protection and the Church, held today at the Savannah Hotel, Hastings, Christ Church.

Explaining that the incidence of child abuse was too high, Mr. Blackett pointed out that Government was seeking to ensure that there was adequate legislation and resources in place to assist children and their families who are victims of abuse.

???It is important to note that child neglect is the most common form of abuse and can be just as serious for the victim as sexual or physical abuse.

“During the period April 1, 2012, to March 31, 2013, the Child Care Board received reports of 327 cases of neglect that impacted 548 children. In 2013 to 2014, there were 321 cases that impacted 522 children.

???My Ministry, and by extension the Government of Barbados, believes that keeping children safe from abuse and neglect should always be the first goal in every family, community and the nation as a whole,??? he stressed.

He urged church and religious leaders at the symposium to work together to eradicate this societal problem.

???It is my hope that one day we will be able to say that not one child in Barbados is a victim of child abuse, because we, as a collective body of responsible citizens of diverse faiths and beliefs, held steadfast to the tenet that children are our heritage, our future and therefore, they must be protected,??? Mr. Blackett said.

The symposium was held as part of the activities to commemorate Universal Children???s Day and the World Day of Prayer and Action for Children, which are celebrated on November 20 annually.

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