May 13, 2013 News
The Childcare Protection Agency (CCPA) is setting to meet with Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in upcoming weeks, to get them involved in the CCPA’s newly introduced and much anticipated child protection ‘one-stop-center’ initiative.
Kaieteur News was told that the NGOs are being called on board as the Childcare Protection Agency continues to press ahead in preparation for the new implementation. At a workshop last month, Head of the CCPA, Ann Greene, introduced the ‘one-stop-centre’ initiative to childcare workers and police officers in the childcare and protection field.
She had stated that the ‘one-stop-centers’ would be a new tool in the battle to prevent crimes committed against children. They are specific building locations where children relate a crime that has been committed against them to all the officers attached to the business of childcare and protection.
It was explained that too many times children are asked to repeat the details of crimes committed against them to various officers as the investigative and child recovery process occurs. This she stated proved adverse for both the investigative process, the child’s recovery process and even the prosecution process. She highlighted that with the ‘one-stop-centers’ the children tell the story to the childcare and protection agents all at once.
She said, “The child has to tell the hurt over and over…..she has to tell the mother, then the school teacher, she has to tell the child protection officer who has to tell the police, then the child has to tell the police and it goes on and on.” “And a lot of times they are telling the story to people who are insensitive.” The ‘one-stop-center’ however eliminates this repeat of “terror and hurt” the child would have felt over and over.
The NGOs, Kaieteur News was told, needed to be pulled on board the ‘one-stop-center’ train as part of the multi-disciplinary approach that is being taken towards this initiative. In relation to the centers, CCPA said that a sensitization process is now in focus. “We need to sensitize people about this programme (one-stop-center). We are gearing for this initiative so everyone needs to know what it is all about,” Kaieteur News was told.
The Childcare Agency said that the expertise of these agencies would be much needed as they play an integral role in the childcare and protection programme, especially where the child’s recovery process is concerned. “It is an essential partnership that is needed and is being built. For comprehensive and successful childcare protection, it should be all hands on deck, all the relevant teams has to be called in.”
Kaieteur News was also told that the centers will exist in the various communities and for this reason, community leaders and other village heads will also be getting attention and may even be trained in relation to the functioning of these centers. “Again it is the essential partnership that we are looking for. It is a multi-disciplinary approach and everyone has to be sensitized to play their part.”
The center is a building that has an interview room where the child protection agents ask questions and other agents view and hear the interview from another room. The interview is also recorded and could be used as evidence in a case against the perpetrators.
Greene told agents that when the child is being interviewed in one room, the police, child care officers, welfare officers and other partners can stay in another room taking notes and even requesting the interviewer to ask pertinent questions that would benefit the investigations and thus prosecution.
The video and audio recording can further be used as evidence in court; the child may never have to see their attacker again, let alone speak of them.
On the last occasion, childcare workers and child protection officers of the Police Force had an in-depth look at the functioning, the process and potential results of the ‘one-stop-center.’ The training workshop, which was held at the Regency International Hotel, was geared at getting the first responders actively involved and aware of the vital role they play in the child protection process.
They were told that their job is one of deepest sensitivity. Greene, when addressing the child protection agents, related that the child has to tell the story too many times while some are insensitive to the situation.
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