Breaking the Silence –The Way to Go

By: Curtis Morton

(Charlestown-Nevis)-Director of the Social Services Department on Nevis, Ms. Sandra Maynard on Tuesday 13th August, gave an update in regards to a meeting that she attended in Antigua in the month of June. This meeting served as a follow up to the campaign launched in Nevis last year, which was dubbed: “Break the silence—end child sexual abuse”.

Breaking the silence meeting
Breaking the silence meeting

The meeting which was sponsored by UNICEF sought in the main to develop a regional approach to the scourge of child sexual abuse.

Emphasis was placed on common approaches and strategies to synthesize the general public on the problem; changing norms and attitudes; monitoring and evaluation.

The meeting held on Tuesday 13th August was an initiative of the Social Services Department in conjunction with the recently established CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE CAMPAIGN COMMITTEE. The focus of that meeting was to chart the way forward as regards child sexual abuse prevention in Nevis.

The meeting saw group members exchanging ideas as they worked on an action plan that will highlight various activities with the basic objective of ending child sexual abuse and domestic violence against women, on the island.

The committee comprises of individuals from various professions and backgrounds and include:
• Sandra Maynard—Director of Social Services
• Shirley Wilkes—Health Educator
• Shelly Liburd—Gender Affairs Officer
• Jamir Claxton—Ag. Director of Sports
• Grace Manners-Family Services Officer
• Lorraine Archibald—Community Health Nurse
• Jerri–Lee Bussue—Family Services Intern
Other representatives include personnel from the Education Department and the Youth Ambassador for Nevis.
During the meeting, it was pointed out that child sexual abuse is still a major concern on the island and that not only girls but there are instances where boys are abused as well.

Ms Maynard revealed that the blue Teddy bear will be used as the logo to attract attention to the problem and that there are plans afoot to get pertinent signs placed at certain key locations across Nevis with relevant messages and the logo attached.

Some of the plans formulated include an increase in the awareness campaign and plans for the lobbying of appropriate changes in the related laws of the land.

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