A senior Government official today called for a comprehensive national policy to deal with child sexual violence.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner said such a policy should include a provision for a specialized treatment programme for both victims and perpetrators.
“This specific element is especially critical if we are to end the cycle,” she insisted, while delivering an address at the official launch of the charity, I Am a Girl held at Heroes Square, Bridgetown this morning.
The activity coincided with the recognition of International Day of the Girl Child under the theme Empowering adolescent girls; ending the cycle of violence.
The parliamentary secretary opined that the country still has a long way to go before it could triumph over sexual violence despite a 2011 report by the Royal Commonwealth Society, which found that Barbados was one of the best places to grow up as a girl.
She said issues such as poverty, limited supervision, inadequate parenting skills, drugs and peer pressure continue to make girls susceptible to the scourge.
Sandiford-Garner further stated: “Barbados urgently requires a national process for the collection and collation of data from the multiple sources engaged in the fight against sexual violence against our children. The disaggregation of date collected will be of utmost importance in our efforts.”
In 2012, some 256 cases of child sexual abuse were reported to authorities.