The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security brought the curtains down on Child Protection Week 2021 on Friday with a bonding ‘Sip and Paint’ event at the Everest Cricket Ground in Georgetown.
The ‘Sip and Paint’ included children and their parents; this year’s celebration is focused on inclusivity with the theme “Together, let us keep children safe”.
Minister of Human Services and Social Security, Dr. Vindhya Persaud dubbed the event the “highlight” of Child Protection Week as it gives both parents and kids the opportunity to bond through art.
“I feel art is very expressive, creative and relaxing, but also if you are to assess paintings and assess art, it gives you an insight into how people think and it gives you an insight, also into their mental state,” she highlighted.
“Today, we are giving that ability to parents and their children and guardians…giving them the opportunity to bond, giving them both the opportunity to say what child protection means to them and what they mean when they speak about child safety.”
As part of Child Care Protection Week activities, the minister said that many public awareness videos were created that placed children in the spotlight so that their voices could be heard.
“We want children to speak to adults and I think adults need to hear from children, what is it they expect from them, what are our responsibilities to them.
“And these will be disseminated widely on radio and television as a constant reminder that they expect us to fulfil our mandate, which is to keep them safe and secure.”
Importantly too, the Human Services Minister pointed out that more focus will be placed on the media and public reports of child abuse because in recent times, though there are certain safeguards in place, the identities of child abuse victims are still being made public.
“At no point in time, a child should be identified, nor should there be a location identifying that child or anything, which can pinpoint a child who has been abused because you open that child to serious stigma, and also extra trauma, and they are already traumatised from what would have happened,” Dr. Persaud stressed.
Already, the ministry is set to embark on its countrywide ‘Every Child Safe’ campaign, which places focus on the community playing its role in eradicating child abuse.
Director of Child Care Services, Ann Greene who was also present at the event, pointed out that this is especially important as those in the community are considered the first responders to abuse reports.
“They are on the ground, they see what is happening in families, they can hear what’s happening in families at the community level.
“We at the Child Protection Agency, we cannot know of a child being abused if the people do not tell us so it must come from the community,” she continued.
Greene pointed out too that persons in the community can face the brunt of the law if they withhold information about a child being abused.
“Every adult has all the responsibility to protect a child, they have a civil and a moral responsibility, so gone are the days that you can say, it’s not my business, it’s your business,” Greene said.