– neglect cited as major abuse
By Rabindra Rooplall
For last year, 886 incidences of child abuse cases were recorded. Of that number, 40 per cent were boys and the rest were girls, according to the Statistical Unit from the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security.
According to the statistical report, girls are abused more than boys. The most common forms of abuse were neglect at 43 per cent, physical abuse, 27 per cent, sexual abuse, 22 per cent and abandonment, two per cent.
The first quarter recorded 303 cases of child abuse. The second highest total, 255, was recorded in the fourth quarter, 255. The third quarter recorded 236 cases and the second quarter, 92.
Most of the cases were recorded in Georgetown —31 per cent; Linden 20 per cent, East Demerara 18 per cent, and West Demerara 16 per cent.
The report further stated the most prevalent perpetrators of child abuse are mothers at 37 per cent and the cases were mostly physical abuse and neglect. Fathers accounted for 19 per cent. Stepparents recorded eight per cent which were sexually related.
They accounted for 64 per cent of the cases of sexual abuse reported.
The statistic revealed of the 787 child abuse cases; 37 per cent were Africans, 29 per cent East Indians, Mixed 22 per cent, Amerindian eight per cent, and Portuguese four per cent.
According to source within the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, the majority of child abuse victims—651— were counseled. There were 127 police reports and 61 cases that were placed before the court.
The source stated when a child is abused the blame seems to be transferred onto the victim instead of the perpetrator. The victims are made to suffer for the rest of their lives feeling guilty, while the abuser is given support.
It was explained that on many occasions, the suffering of the child is not taken into serious consideration. However, research indicates the abuser in most cases was abused and taken advantage of, which contributes to a cycle of abuse.
The Child Care Protection Agency of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security has pursued the legal route of acquiring custody of over 600 children who do not have parents/guardians, and who were placed in the various institutions across the country.
Kaieteur News understands that the Ministry had the courts grant the agency custody to take the children in its care and to place some of them in foster homes.
The Ministry also has the right to put up some for adoption.
Kaieteur News was told that the Ministry is looking to place several children that are in institutional care into foster homes and the children that have been abandoned by their parents will be up for adoption.
Child abuse is more than bruises and broken bones. While physical abuse might be the most visible sign, other types of abuse, such as emotional abuse or child neglect, also leave deep, long lasting scars. Some signs of child abuse are subtler than others. However, by learning common types of abuse and what you can do, you can make a huge difference in a child’s life.
The earlier abused children get help, the greater chance they have to heal from their abuse and not perpetuate the cycle.
Learn the signs and symptoms of child abuse and help break the cycle, finding out where to get help for the children and their caregivers, the experts say.
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