Barbados remains committed to a zero tolerance policy on all forms of violence against women and children.

Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, made it clear that ???no violence was justifiable, and all violence was preventable???.

He made these comments today, while delivering remarks at an event hosted by the United Nations Sub-Regional Team for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean in partnership with Government on the topic Justice and Response ??? Ending Gender-Based Violence in Barbados at UN House, Marine Gardens, Hastings, Christ Church.

???I pledge that we will continue our efforts to create a safer Barbados for our girls and our boys, for our men and for our women,??? he stated.??So far, the Minister said, a national protocol and mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse had been developed, and a green paper on legislative reform to more adequately address children???s issues had been prepared.

These are expected to go before the sub-committee of Cabinet soon for consideration.??Mr. Blackett admitted that Barbados, like other parts of the world, still experienced challenges pertaining to the abuse of women and children.

???Too many children will face gender-based violence in the home; too many girls suffer psychological abuse, and too many boys suffer physical abuse,??? he stated. He added that the sexual exploitation of girls was more prevalent, while boys were more likely to be physically abused.

However, the Minister stressed that Government was determined to address these issues, as one person, whether woman or child, experiencing violence was one too many.

Noting that there was a culture of violence that still existed in society, Mr. Blackett stated that Government continued to work with UN Women to strengthen the scope and reach of domestic violence protection, and with UNICEF to embrace the Break the Silence Against Child Abuse initiative.

???The Break the Silence campaign is reaching out to the education and health sectors to increasingly ensure that all frontline professionals notice the signs of the possible abuse of children, and when they see it, how to manage and refer it to the appropriate and specialised agencies,??? he said.

Come October, Barbados will celebrate its 25th and 35th anniversary respectively, of the ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on all forms of Discrimination against Women.

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