Violence against children and sexual abuse of children are two major issues which UNICEF’s Regional Director for Latin America and Caribbean, Bernt Aasen would like communities to speak more about.
The UNICEF official who visited Dominica this week, says while these are sensitive issues, much more should be done at the community level to break the silence about the abuse of children.
He says though the acts may be taking place in private homes, it is a public concern.
“The sexual abuse of children and the violence against children that are taking place inside the home will not be prevented until the communities engage”.
According to the UNICEF Regional Director “whenever there is a suspicion the community has a responsibility to break the silence and speak out”.
The UNICEF official is encouraged by a recent move by the Government of Dominica to implement new protocols to allow the public to report cases of child abuse.
“The Cabinet of Dominica recently passed a new protocol that supports public servants to report on this very sensitive issue and again we see this as a tremendous step forward” Mr. Aasen said.
Notwithstanding that however Aasen says more public debate on the issue should be encouraged.
“Hopefully there will be public debate on this issue. It is an issue that is sensitive but the doors have been open and we hope we have a lively discussion on this issue in Dominica and the community engage and speak out”.