Amid growing concern about child abuse in Barbados, Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and child advocates have issued a joint call for men to do more to protect children.
Action for Justice and its partners – the Child Care Board, the Barbados National Parent Teacher Association and the I Am A Girl charity – took to the streets of Bridgetown yesterday demanding better for the nation’s children at the march held under the theme – Men Making a Difference: Asserting Our Role in the Protection of Children.
Clad in purple and armed with placards, the group called for an end to abuse, insisting that children deserved love, care and security.
Delivering the opening remarks, co-founder of Action for Justice Rev. Anne Hamilton-Cutting revealed that an alarming 772 cases of child abuse were reported during the period 2013/2014.
“Of this number, 192 were for sexual abuse, 190 for physical abuse, 321 for neglect and 68 for emotional abuse. These are the number of reported cases, but the number of children affected or involved totals 1045,” said Rev. Hamilton-Cutting.
She warned that many more cases remain unreported.
Hamilton-Cutting told the gathering that there could be no mistaking the important role men play in the lives of children and stressed the need for men to take on more responsibility in this area.
“Men play a very important role in children’s lives, have a great influence on the children they care for and they also play an important role in protecting children from abuse and exploitation.”
Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite reinforced Hamilton-Cutting’s views as he bemoaned that a significant number of men were failing their children.
“You can rest assured that if there are 50 children, 49 of them do not have a relationship or a solid relationship with their father, and that’s a significant challenge. So really, what we need to do is to find a way to motivate more men to get involved in the lives of their children,” he stated.
Brathwaite continued, “it is not enough to contribute some money every week, pay it to the court or give it to their girlfriend or wife . . . you really need to spend some time and believe me, it is no greater feeling than the love of a child for you as a parent when you have that kind of relationship.”
Adding that one of the greatest challenges in the Caribbean was the breakdown of the family, Brathwaite stressed the need for significant change. (KK)