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Child sexual abuse a crisis in Jamaica, says Crawford

Damion Crawford, Opposition Spokesman for Youth and Culture and Counselling Psychologist Annette Richards
 
Opposition Spokesman for Youth and Culture Damion Crawford has said sexual assault of children in Jamaica has reached crisis proportions.
 
Senator Crawford has based this on data from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) which indicated that in 2018, approximately 15,000 cases of sexual and other forms of abuse against children were reported.
 
He has presented four recommendations which he is appealing to the Government to consider.
 
These include greater collaboration between the ministries of National Security and Education and Youth to establish a central registry of abuse cases reported across the island.
 
He believes the appointment of a minister with responsibility for Youth would better facilitate this.
 
Senator Crawford is also of the view that the shift system in schools leaves children exposed to attacks "because parents are out and children are home," which results in children not having adult protection. 
 
Additionally, he is advocating for an increase in the number of guidance counsellors in schools.
 
Senator Crawford was speaking Monday on TVJ's Smile Jamaica programme.
 
Action needed 
 
Counselling Psychologist Annette Richards has agreed that attacks on children are at crisis level and immediate action is needed to stem the incidents. 
 
She argued that Jamaica continues to undervalue the need for counselling "and so we have layers and layers of incidents affecting persons and then from that, what happens is that it's not dealt with and so a victim becomes a perpetrator...and the cycle can continue." 
 
Ms Richards, who was also speaking on TVJ's Smile Jamaica, said she is in strong support of the recommendation to increase the number of guidance counsellors and ensuring the ratio to students is realistic.
 
But she pointed out that parents are also in need of support to adequately prepare them to nurture their children. 
 
 


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