Wandering is no longer the primary offence for which girls are charged in Barbados.
Instead, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, said girls were now “on par” with boys as it relates to charges for assault and assault occasioning actual bodily harm.
She made these revelations as she addressed the opening of the 11+ Programme In The Winners’ Circle at the New Dimension Ministries this morning.
“In 2017, the popular charge for a girl was wandering, [followed by] wounding, serious bodily harm, assault, theft, indecent language and drugs. For the boys, it was assault, bodily harm and wounding.
“[But], in 2018 there was an amazing change for the girls. We realized that wandering is no longer a top charge for girls in Barbados. It is assault occasioning actual bodily harm. The girls are now on par with the boys,” she stated.
She explained that many of the girls who came to court saw domestic violence in their homes through their parents fighting and quarrelling with each other. She added that these girls in turn then acted out what they saw at school or in their other environments.
However, the Registrar added it was recognized that some of the problems also stemmed from children having Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, mental disorders and some who were “truly depressed”.
“It is more the girls than the boys who are depressed, and the reports also show that girls have a higher likelihood of being abused in the household as opposed to the boys. So, this shift you are seeing is a great concern,” Mrs. Cooke-Alleyne pointed out.
However, she told the students of Hindsbury Primary, St. Matthews Primary and the Rock Christian School, that the In The Winners’ Circle programme was timely as it was designed to teach young people how to deal with conflict.
She added that the one lesson she wanted the students to take away was how to deal with conflict resolution.
“You have options, you have choices…, and we want to change how our young ladies are behaving in society,” she said, noting the programme was designed to prepare those who sat the Common Entrance Examination for secondary school.
The programme, now in its 11th year, will focus on topics such as Bullying, Drug Use; Your Body and You; the Law and You; and the Consequences of Actions.
For the first time, the programme will be conducted nationally, targeting over 3, 500 students who took this year’s 11+ examination over a two-week period from May 13 to 28, at 13 centres across the island.
In addition, the programme, which is sponsored by the Maria Holder Trust and Guardian Insurance, will also target parents through a workshop to assist them with the transition process.