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Child abuse prevention seminar

There are various types of child abuse including physical, emotional, and sexual. According to the Department of Human Services, between eight hundred to one thousand cases of child abuse are reported annually. Today, a seminar was held to provide training for persons whose job may bring them into contact with children so that they may identify signs of abuse in children. Paul Lecky, President of the Children First and Last, CFAL, shared with the media that child abuse can have devastating effects on children.

Paul Lecky – President of Children First and Last: “The purpose of this event right now, it is really a child abuse forum and we have the experts in. The idea is to get the people who deal with children: the police, social workers, the teachers, coast guard, everybody that deals with children to be able to identify a child that is being abused. They come in contact with these kids every day but how do you identify if a child is being abused? So we can take corrective measures early. That is the primary focus now so we are hoping that people will walk away with the knowledge of how to identify this and where to get help. If you are being abused and if your parent keeps telling you that you are no good, you know what, you will not disappoint your parents, you will believe what they are saying so you will end up not being any good. If we are reinforcing our children that they are good, they will not disappoint you either so it is to get this across. This thing about children should be seen and not heard, that is something I am definitely against because then the child grows up like that and never learns to converse with adults, they go into the workplace, although they are brilliant, we don’t as a society benefit from it because the child has learned that it is best to keep your mouth zipped up.”

Dr. Kendra Flores-Carter, Associate Professor of Social Work at California Baptist University, said that children who are abused can turn to a life of crime, if there isn’t a support system that they can turn to while experiencing the abuse.

Dr. Kendra Flores-Carter – Associate Professor of Social Work at California Baptist University: “Kids who experience adverse childhood experiences which is things like domestic violence, drugs in the homes with parents, mental illness, things like that. If you have someone in the household that is experiencing those issues and you grow up in that environment it can definitely affect you later on in life so kids who have adverse childhood experiences have a higher chance of getting depressed as they get older, of committing crimes, kids who are significantly traumatized because adverse childhood experiences is trauma, the trauma they experience in their environment growing up so they have a higher chance of really becoming criminals if there is no one to buffer, no one to provide the resiliency and the support they need while they are experiencing child abuse growing up and trauma in the home so it is so important to really address the early childhood factors that influence child development and brain development.”

Judith Alpuche, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Human Development, told the media that the Department of Human Services has several programs geared towards strengthening families in order to prevent parents from abusing their children.

Judith Alpuche – CEO of the Ministry of Human Development: The system is made up of more than just human development. We respond to the child protection aspects but the child protection system as a whole, you have the police dealing with the criminal aspects of it so while we look at how do we protect the child from further harm the police looks at what crime has been committed and takes that through investigation and through the judicial system if people are to be charged. It is something that we have to work closely with the police on but of course, there are other entities like the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health that play a very important role, the general public, NGO’s, it really does take a village to raise a child and protect children. The crime-fighting strategy etc. is very important but it is really about building foundations and base, working from birth or even before birth and that is where we are focusing to see how we can sure up the child throughout the life cycle and really help families to do right by their children.”

The seminar was held at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina.