Human Services Ministry launches books to help tackle child abuse
In an effort to make conversations on child abuse easier between adults and children, the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security this week launched two new books – a story book and colouring book – that seek to effectively open the way for certain touchy subjects to be discussed.
Subject minister, Dr. Vindhya Persaud, in conceptualizing the ideas for the books, took into account that it is not always easy for adults to explain matters related to child abuse. The books were launched under the Ministry’s ‘Every Child Safe’ campaign that started earlier this year.
“The books are a comfortable way of opening up conversations between an adult and child so that they can address child abuse. It can be quite an uncomfortable subject for the adult to discuss with the child but this colouring book gives the opening and guides the adult on how to explain in a very meaningful way,” Dr. Persaud explained.
The intention is also for children to be educated on the subject and to know what to do in the event they are being abused. For instance, the books prominently feature the Ministry’s hotline numbers that they can use to get help.
“This is an important component to the campaign where our facilitators will go into communities and work with people. It’s a very action-oriented campaign, so they will now have colouring books and story books for children that will educate them in a very sensitive and age appropriate way on child abuse,” Minister Persaud further explained.
In addition to the books being used by the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) – the entity that is spearheading the campaign – they will also be given to the Ministry of Education for use however the officers there see fit.
Funding for this project was provided through the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry wants to thank the organisation for that.
The storybook is a compilation of stories that came out of the Short Story Writing Competition for young writers. The stories of the ten winners, which were focused on various elements of
child safety, were compiled. “The colouring book was a project I worked on with my team members and it is also activity based so that children can definitely have insight into child abuse,” Dr. Persaud said.
Under ‘Every Child Safe’, more is done than just seek to make information available to the public; a personal and consistent check-in with members of communities all across Guyana is carried out for help to identify perpetrators and bring relief to sufferers.
“These communities become essential partners of ours, so that wherever child abuse rears its ugly head, we will be able to know because there are people out there as our eyes and ears. Perpetrators will have the eyes of an entire community on them, so no one can escape that kind of scrutiny,” Dr. Persaud had said.
The campaign fosters heightened vigilance on child abuse in communities and people will now be more aware of crimes that they should look out for and how they should report cases of child abuse utilising the 914 hotline and all the other avenues available to them through the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the 10 persons who won in the competition are Aradhya Ramjag (Aaila Runs Away); Daniel Persaud (Quick Thinking); Rondel Parks (Annie Calls 914); Vanessa Ramdehooll (Puppy Love); Daniel Lalchand (Early Morning Scare); Sajid Amin (Praying for a Miracle); Giovanna George (Tickling Tommy); Rachel Davis (Fire, Fire!) Roshanie Mahadeo (The Black Coat); and Shaquana Richards (Veronica’s Father). (Press release from Ministry of Human Services and Social Security)