We must do more to protect our children
When we take a look at history and make the comparison to see how much we have improved, in certain areas, we have much to be proud of.
These included technologically and in terms of infrastructure.
But even in the face of all this advancement, there are areas where we seem to be moving backwards, including in the way we treat and protect our children.
Between the increasing reports of domestic abuse and the abduction and murder of our children, it really must make any sensible person pause and wonder what is going on.
In a report published by UNICEF in 2018, the Planning Institute of Jamaica reports that 643 children were victims of violent crimes, including robbery, murder and rape.
The Jamaica Constabulary Force reports that in 2017 there were 55 child murders, which represents an increase of 34 per cent from the previous year.
Girls account for 97.3 per cent of the 1,094 child abuse reports received by the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA 2016).
And in 2019, almost every week there is another report of a child going missing and often, the body is later found.
In view of these troubling statistics, we must ask ourselves: What can we do to better protect our children?
I cannot begin to imagine the pain and anguish a parent goes through when their child goes missing.
The whole experience seems to be a nightmare, and it seems to be even more so when the response from the authorities proves to be less than helpful.
Typically, when it’s reported that a child is missing, most of us learn about it through social media, and while the information is shared and hashtags are created, it feels like enough is not being done to bring this child home alive.
I often think of the private pain and the guilt that the parents no doubt feel, because they wonder what they could have done to prevent this horrible situation.
I personally don’t have a solution that will keep every child safe and I doubt that the lawmakers do, either. All I can suggest is that the village gets activated.
We must all participate in the preservation and protection of our youth.
It’s not enough to act on social media; we must be more proactive and stop protecting the perpetrators who continue to put children at risk. We must do better.