The Early Childhood Unit’s has decided to place a keen focus on the issue of child abuse, urging nationals through its theme for this year, to “Act Now! Break the Silence-Stop Child Abuse”.
The Director of the country’s Early Childhood Unit, Jacqueline Morris said her department is committed to raising social awareness about the problems that have been affecting more and more children in St. Kitts and Nevis, to an extent that many do not seem to realize.
“We want to empower children, parents and the community as a whole to speak out in ways that stop child abuse,” added Mrs. Morris.
The Department has therefore tailored its program this year to give children the kind of joyful experiences they should have every day of their young lives; while at the same time the Unit wishes to educate the community on the issue.
Morris’ Unit has secured the firm backing of the Minister of Education and Information Nigel Carty, who is of the view that the theme is a clarion call to action. He also denounced all forms of child abuse.
It was Carty’s view that, “Parents need to be aware that leaving children at home for extended periods of time without proper supervision and care constitutes neglect.” He said abuse has been extended to include such undesirable behaviours as verbal threats, cursing, broken promises and constant belittling. When an adult threatens to kick, slap or knock down a child that is child abuse, argued Carty. He admonished parents and guardians to safeguard children from abuse, discrimination and harm and encouraged them to take quick action.
“It is important to report incidents of abuse to the Department of Social Services or the Ministry of Education,” Carty advised, “assuring that the Ministry’s officials will be held to the highest standards in terms of confidentiality and professionalism.”
Upcoming activities in observance of Child Month are Parade Day in Nevis on June 9th, Children’s Fairs at TDC Grounds from June 13th to 15th, Professional Development Day on June 18th, Interschool Sports Day on Nevis on June 21, The Family Food Fair on June 22, Staff Social on Nevis on June 28th and the Grand Finale, the Child Month Parade on Friday June 29th in St. Kitts.