Sexual abuse encountered by students across the island will occupy the minds of those in the education sector next week.

The Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation will host a two-day symposium entitled: Student Victims of Sexual Abuse, at Hilton Barbados, Needham???s Point, St. Michael.

The event, which will be held under the theme: Let???s Talk???Student Victims of Sexual Abuse, targets over 100 principals, guidance counsellors, senior teachers, education officers and tutors, particularly those from Erdiston Teachers??? Training College.

It begins on Thursday, June 19, targeting educators in the public and private secondary schools on the issue. On Friday, June 20, it continues with sessions that will draw attention to what is being seen at the level of public and private primary schools. The sessions will run from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on both days.

There will be presentations on Symptoms of Sexual Abuse in Students; How to Manage Disclosure or Suspicions of Sexual Abuse and a plenary session on the Draft Mandatory Reporting Protocol on Child Abuse.

A key objective of the symposium is to sensitise participants about sexual abuse, its impacts and ways to address these. It also aims to ensure that the education and training of principals, teachers, guidance counsellors, social workers and allied professionals reflect an understanding of and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of student victims/survivors of sexual abuse.

Additionally, it is expected to ensure that management staff of educational institutions is equipped with appropriate knowledge to address the incidence of child sexual abuse and educational institutions are aware of child sexual abuse programmes and services which are responsive and appropriate to their needs and that they are empowered to make informed choices.

Chief Education Officer, Laurie King, will welcome participants, while Khin-Sandi Lwin, UNICEF???s Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, will deliver opening remarks on the first day of the symposium at 9:00 a.m.

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