The notable increase in reports of child sexual abuse in Jamaica in recent years is due to an improvement in detection systems and the growing responsibility teachers feel to help student victims, an activist told Efe Thursday.
Jolie Logan is the president of Darkness to Light, which offered this week in Kingston an educational workshop for teachers, parents, government officials and the general public, an event sponsored by the Women’s Leadership Initiative of Jamaica.
The number of reported cases of child sexual abuse soared from 121 in 2007 to 3,386 last year, according to statistics from the Office of Children’s Registry.
Girls were the victims in 59 percent of reported cases in 2013.
“If the reported statistics are alarming, one can only imagine how many children are out there who are suffering with their secret untold”, Darkness to Light’s Cindy McElhinney told Efe.
Logan acknowledged the work done by the Office of Children’s Registry and the Government of Jamaica to improve detection systems, but recommended a comprehensive plan of action that includes tougher laws mandating protective and preventative measures.
“Research shows that children are more likely to disclose abuse to a teacher than any other group of adults. Teachers are critically important in the fight against child sexual abuse,” she said.
On Oct. 11, the Jamaican organization Eve For Life will launch a nationwide awareness campaign against child sexual abuse under the name “Nuh Guh Deh,” the Jamaican patois equivalent of “Don’t go there.”
The United Nations has proclaimed Oct. 11 the International Day of the Girl Child.
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