Child neglect, abuse continues to rise – RCC investigator

first_imgIn its quest to protect the constitutional rights of children across Guyana, the Rights of the Child Commission (RCC) has been receiving an increased number in cases of abuse and neglect.This information was related to Guyana Times during an interview with the investigative officer and Human Rights Activist at the RCC, Andre Gonsalves, who indicated that there are 26 pending cases along with 53 dating back to 2017. Within these, some also deal with underage pregnancies and discrimination.“We have currently 26. We had 53 and of that 53 which is from last year, we would’ve referred many of them to the Child Care and Protection Agency and to the Police. We also refer them to the Ministry of Social Protection and we do follow up to ensure that the matter continues to receive attention. The numbers so far have been increasing but what we should look at is what particular type of cases are coming in more often than the others,” Gonsalves said.It was relayed that in the school setting, many reports are filed of discriminatory cases. In his perspective, this continues because the Education Ministry has not established policies to engage discussions and solutions for such incidences.“Most of the cases that we’ve received have to do with neglect and abuse in all its forms and we have some discriminatory cases in the school setting. The Ministry doesn’t really have any policy to engage or to remedy such and even our laws in the Constitution don’t really give us any actions so that is definitely a vulnerable group.”In the teenage and underage pregnancy cases where the father may be the only provider for the mother and child, there are programmes set up to monitor and offer counselling to the family or a similar organisation is called that can provide support.The activist claimed, “We have some instances where a child may have a baby at 15. Police may not have the will to go and arrest the father because one of the popular notions is that who will take care of the child? With cases like that, we would provide counselling for the teenage mother. In this way, we would seek institutions or an NGO to offer that.”Recently, a study was conducted to attain information on the magnitude of juvenile crime in Guyana and the statistical information found indicates that the Sophia Holding Centre is in the highly concentrated region for such crimes. However, there was a stretch from Sparendaam in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) to Springlands in Region Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) with a prevalence of wandering and simple larceny.“We did an analysis of juvenile crime in Guyana and we found that most of these crime, the catchment area was the Sophia Holding Centre, so we found that most of them were from Sparendaam to Springlands in Region Six. However, there is a bigger concentration in the Sparendaam to Vigilance area,” he said.From this, it was decided that parenting programmes should be the next item on the agenda of the RCC.“Most of them were victimless, non-economical. Some of them were wandering and simple larceny. We found that those were because of a necessity, hunger, the family environment. That’s why we advocating for better parenting programmes.”Meanwhile, Chairperson of the organization, Aleema Nazir, provided additional statistics which indicate that 65 per cent of children at the New Opportunity Corps (NOC) holding centres are held for wandering.last_img