While men are perceived as strong and independent leaders, they are also the ones in need of additional help.

That???s the assessment of Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit (CJRPU), Cheryl Willoughby.

She was addressing the opening of a school session for the More than Victors Family Conference under the theme: We are not for Sale, at the Prince Cave Hall of the District ???A??? Police Station today.

???Men are perceived to be strong; they are perceived to be independent; they are perceived to be leaders; they are perceived to be the ones who will instil guidance, but I also believe that we are to also recognise that men are the ones that may be requiring additional help,??? she said.

Mrs. Willoughby noted that statistics compiled by the CJRPU indicated that men were the main victims of violent crimes in Barbados, as well as the main perpetrators.

She told those present that it was important to target young men at an early age, as children were already indoctrinated into certain patterns of behaviour by the time they reached the age of 13 or 14.

The Director warned that waiting until a child reached secondary school to start an intervention was too late, and all efforts must be made to intervene earlier.

Mrs. Willoughby noted that the CJRPU had already implemented several initiatives, such as the Dispute Resolution and Conflict Mediation and Boys to Men programmes, which dealt with behavioural problems in school, male sexuality and self-esteem building, among other areas.

However, she pointed out that a major challenge with some males was they did not like to verbalise their issues, with many of them keeping their problems to themselves, unlike women who tended to be more expressive.

She added that men appeared to be ???retreating in surrender???, with women now taking over at the helm of organisations like the Boy Scouts. ???We need more males to come forward and mentor our young men so they can see positive role models among themselves,??? the Director emphasised.

During the morning session, boys from nine secondary schools and the Government Industrial School listened as American teacher, Mark Taylor, shared his story of being a victim of sex trafficking from the age of 11.

Mr. Taylor advised the young boys that if they were in need of help, to find someone and talk to them about what was happening.??He also urged teachers and parents to be vigilant for any noticeable changes in their children???s behaviour or in their school work.


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