As the country continues to kick up a storm over the heinous rape and murder of Berbice teenager, 13-year-old Leonardo Archibald, the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) has indicated that over 400 sexual abuse cases have been reported for the first half of 2017.
This was revealed by Director of CCPA, Ann Greene, in an interview with Guyana Times, earlier this week.
According to the Director, within the first six months of 2017, 424 cases of sexual abuse were reported and addressed by her Agency.
Greene thereby underlined that the total project for this year thus far marks an increase from what was seen in the previous years. However, in addressing the hike up, she explained that, “Yes, there is an increase of reports. But persons need to understand that an increase in reports does not say that there is more child abuse now than last year. It can be due to the heighten awareness where we have increased the channels of reporting.” However, the CCPA Director pointed out that the increase in reports is a positive sign which indicates that the Agency’s efforts are bearing fruits. This is as the Agency embarks on a number of initiatives aimed at informing the public of their operations, allowing for more to individuals reach out so that the victims can benefit from the works of the CCPA.
“It has increased now, but look at how many programmes we have been doing. Because of the programmes we are doing, it would increase because people are more aware. We have ads going all over the country so people are getting more aware,” Greene conveyed.
In doing so, the Child Care Director further highlighted that while this figure sums those instances which have been brought to the attention of the CCPA, an alarming number of sexual abuse cases still go unreported.
On that note, she lamented, “The figures don’t really tell it too, because the reports we get is a tip of the iceberg because sexual abuse is a hidden crime, it is done behind closed doors. Some of the children (who are victims), they literally do not have a voice to tell of the abuse. So you really have to analyse the figures and work at it.”
The Child Care and Protection Agency seeks to reduce the occurrence and alleviate the effects of the abuse and neglect of children by the provision of effective services, reflecting their rights, particularly among communities and within in their family circle.
As a part of their goals for 2017, the Agency had launched a number of awareness programmes aimed at advocating for the rights and access to services for vulnerable and underserved Guyanese.
The ventures comprise of a national multimedia campaign, a special parenting initiative and a prevention of pregnancy and empowerment programme of adolescence, which managed to reach citizens all across the country. Given the spike in reports recorded just months after the launch of these initiatives, the CCPA has expressed satisfaction with their work on the belief that they have been able reached a wider section of the Guyanese population.