The Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) has had over 900 reported cases of child abuse for this year.
According to the Government Information Agency (GINA), Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency, Ann Greene, explained that the most reported cases of abuse is neglect at 471, followed by sexual abuse at 193.
The cases of sexual abuse was referred to One Stop Centres which give the victims an opportunity to tell their story in the presence of investigators, counselors, prosecutors and welfare officers. The presence of the officers at one facility avoid the possibility of the child repeating the ordeal several times.
“Victims of sexual abuse, sometimes they have to tell the pain and hurt so many times, so we really try to allow the children to only get to tell it one time, so we allow this multidisciplinary team …so we will record it and whoever needs to see it two three to four times, they will have the opportunity to do that,” Greene explained.
The Centres also provide services such as forensic interviews, crisis intervention, counseling, trauma focused therapy, parenting sessions, child and family advocacy and education and prevention activities to children and families affected by trauma due to sexual abuse.
Greene noted that the number of cases of abuse is a pattern which does not differ when compared to previous years. However, she said the one stop facility has been very effective in dealing with those cases.
There are five One Stop Centres in operation across the country. These are being manned by two Non-Governmental Organisation, Child Link and Blossom Inc. The Centres also work closely with the doctors who examine the children in cases of sexual abuse.
The EU has been supporting Child Link by providing critical resources for their centres.
Three other Centres will be established in Regions Six, Seven and Ten by the Ministry in collaboration with UNICEF.