Children are the future of any country. Every nation cherishes this young generation and is duty bound to protect its children. Jamaica has realised the importance of this and is implementing several changes to help protect its young citizens, especially from an increasing crime rate. The country is observing the month of May as National Child Month and several programmes have been put in place to celebrate and safeguard childhood. Government Senator, Dr. Saphire Longmore, was quoted as saying that the need of the hour is to protect the children from sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Statistics received from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) is genuinely worrying. Some kind of immediate action is required to put a stop to the atrocities against children. It has been found that around 10 in every 1,000 children are subjected to some form of abuse or mistreatment. Around 70 out every 10,000 kids seem to be victims of violent crimes. The number of rape victims since the start of the year is around 83, and the number of kids found murdered in 2019 alone is about 14. Around 49 kids were subjected to severe sexual and physical assault. To top this, approximately 80% of the kids seem to have witnessed violence, either in their communities or in their homes.
Apart from these, children die horrific deaths each year due to traffic violations. Improper signage and carelessness on the part of drivers seem to be the leading cause. It has been found that around 120 deaths have occurred in the last year alone. Most of the unfortunate victims are left disabled for life. Estimated 70,000 children are disabled due to road accidents.
Countermeasures Being Put in Place
The cynosure during this year’s celebrations will be children with disabilities. The central theme will be ‘Encourage, Enable, Include Me’. On Labour Day, the country will focus on ensuring the children’s safety in various spheres of everyday life. The National Child Month programme seeks to ensure that people spend time understanding the importance of road safety, especially when it comes to kids. Crosswalks, separate lanes for buses and many such safety measures are in the pipeline and might become a reality soon.
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