–community action groups to be created to address issues facing children, says Greene
REGION One (Barima-Waini) has recorded the highest rate of child abuse, including sexual abuse, for the first half of 2021, according to statistics from the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA).
During the period under review, the country recorded a total of 1,918 cases of child abuse. And while Region Four has the most cases due to its population density, Region One recorded the highest rate of abuse out of the 10 Administrative Regions, with a rate of 11.8 per cent.
This is followed by Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) which has a rate of 10.4 per cent, and Region Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) which has a rate of 9.7 per cent.
The lowest rate of child abuse was recorded in Region Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), which has a rate of 1.2 per cent. Regions Four (Demerara-Mahaica), Five (Mahaica-Berbice) and Six (East Corentyne Berbice also all fell below two per cent.
Girls continued to outrank boys as being the most prevalent victims of abuse, with 60.5 percent of the abuse cases so far for the year being girls.
Neglect was ranked as the most prevalent form of abuse facing children in Guyana, with a total of 734 children being affected for the period January – June, 2021.
This is followed by sexual abuse which affected 585 children, and physical abuse which affected 446 children.
The other categories of abuse recorded were verbal abuse (135 children), witnessed abuse (15 children) and abandonment (three children).
As it pertains to sexual abuse among children, Region One also has the highest rate in this regard. As it is, the region accounts for 6.9 per cent of those cases, and 3.2 per cent of the cases of neglect.
Region Seven had the second highest rate of sexual abuse among children, at 5.5 per cent. Region Three had the highest rate of neglect at 4.8 per cent, while Region Four had the highest rate of physical abuse, at 2.2 per cent.
Those statistics were released earlier this week, as the CC&PA and Ministry of Human Services and Social Security commemorate “Child Protection Week” under the theme “Together, let’s keep children safe.”
Speaking with the Guyana Chronicle about the observance of this week, CC&PA Director, Ann Greene, said that the focus will be on relating the important role communities play in helping to root out child abuse in society.
“We want to work more with communities. We really have to partner with communities because communities are at that level where they know everything happening in the family. They can see and they can hear so they are in a position to help to keep children safe,” Greene noted.
She said that the CC&PA and the ministry will be working to create a number of community action groups to address issues facing children in society at large.
“It’s about putting some structure into it, for the communities to partner with us to keep children safe and keep communities safe. We will train persons in the communities to understand signs of abuse, and to know what to do. We want to galvanise communities to take a share of the responsibility for children because child protection is everyone’s business,” Greene said.