Children being physically abused while in Institutional care- NGO report
Children between ages 10 to 12 in institutional care, particularly boys are being physically abused by their care givers and other staff at both private and state-run institutions. This is according to a study conducted by local non-governmental organisation ChildLink into ‘the Nature and Extent of Institutionalization of Children in Guyana.’
The report stated that care givers unanimously denied using corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure, stated that they instead give additional chores, deny privileges or have the children sent directly to the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA). However, the children have related differently.
“…a day (name of staff member) slapped me and swell me eye, and another time he just come and slap me behind me head hard and next time I was in the yard he come and cuff me hard in me back” –story of a 12-year-old boy, printed in the report.
The ChildLink report which analysed 10 of the 23 facilities in regions 3, 4 and 6, further stated that this was not denied by the CCPA.
It expressed concern with this disclosure noting that “this trend needs urgent attention as children are removed from their homes and placed in residential care because of reports of abuse. For them to be abused further while in state care is an anomaly as they were placed there for safety and protection.”
The report shared on Friday with members of the media and the CCPA along with interested partners.
Contact was made with Director of the CCPA, Ann Greene stated that she is currently reviewing the report and will give an official comment shortly.
Childlink on Friday shared the findings which focused on an examination of the legalities of removing and placing children in institutions, an assessment of standards of the institutions in relation to the government minimum standard for institutions, a determination of factors leading to short and long term institutional care in Guyana, a determination of the factors and challenges of the re-integration process and role of the visiting parents.
The report was presented by a Consultant attached to Childlink, Melanie Smith who noted that the CCPA records show that as of February 2016, 624 children were in institutional care while 179 were in foster care.
The study combined questionnaires, In Depth interviews, key information interviews and focus group discussions to gather information.
Limitations to gathering information the organisation said the absence of empirical data and lack of disaggregated data, low participation of parents and residential care facilities being reluctant to provide relevant information.