Child Protection

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It takes a village to raise a child. It is everyone’s responsiblity to safeguard our children. If you suspect or has witnessed that a child or any vulnerable person is being abused contact the police immediatley at 999, 4912555 or Community Services on 4913895.

 

Who is a child?

According to Montserrat law, a child is any person under the age of sixteen years.

 

What is abuse?

Any adult who intentionally or negligently causes or inflicts injury or a series of injuries to a child through the commission or omission of any act or mistreatment by neglecting, psychologically/emotionally or sexually molesting any child is guilty of abuse. Although it can be difficult to define because of its vastness, molestation is any deliberate behavior toward any child which annoys, bothers, troubles, touches that child in an inappropriate or sexually suggestive manner.

 

How the Police can help you

The Police is responsible for investigating all reports of abuse and neglect regarding children and vulnerable members of society. We work in partnership with the Department of Social Services to ensure that victims and persons affected by abuse receive the necessary care, treatment and rehabilitation.

Once a report of child abuse is made to either the Police or Social Services an investigation is launched. The aim of this is to stop any further occurrence of abuse to that child, to ensure that child is placed in safe environment and to bring offenders to justice. The legislation of Montserrat provides adequate coverage to deal with incidents of child abuse.

A number of child abuse and sexually based offences and punishment can be found in the Penal Code. These offences carry a wide range of penalties from life imprisonment to six months in prison and fines. Examples are listed below:

Section 193       Cruelty to Children

Section117        Rape                                               

Section 118       Incest by a man

Section119        Incest by a woman

Section120        Sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13

Section121        Unlawful sexual intercourse under the age of sixteen

Section122        Indecent assault on a woman

Section123        Indecency with child

Section124        Permitting girls under thirteen for sexual intercourse

Section125        Causing or encouraging prostitution etc of girl under sixteen

Section126        Procurement of woman by threats

Section128        Administering drugs to facilitate intercourse

Section129        Causing prostitution of woman

Section130        Detention of woman in brothel, etc

Section131        Man living on earnings of prostitution

Section134        Intercourse with defective

Section136        Letting premises for use as brothel

Section137        Unnatural offences

Other legislation relating to the care and treatment of children include: Juvenile Act, Children Abduction& Custody Act, Adoption of Childdren Act, etc.

 

Tips for Parents

Identify areas on the body which no one is allowed to touch and ensure your child knows them well and is not afraid to tell persons they are not allowed to touch them.

Take away any embarrassment or negative stigma attached to nakedness and genitals.

Encourage frequent, open and honest conversations between parents/guardians and child.

Make your home a safe place for your child to speak and be heard.

 

While parents have a responsibility to educate and protect their children, children should know: 

  • DO NOT speak to strangers.
  • Never accept gifts or eat from someone you do not know.
  • Never open your door without your parents’ knowledge.
  • Never get in a motor vehicle with anyone unless OK with parent or guardian.
  • Never keep secrets from your parents.
  • Always tell your parents/guardians where you are going and with whom.
  • Always tell a responsible trustworthy adult if someone touches or does anything inappropriate to you.

 

Signs that a child may be suffering from abuse
  1.    Loss of appetite
  2.    Irritability & short temper
  3.    Appears withdrawn or is unusually clingy 
  4.    Restlessness (drastic changes in sleep pattern)
  5.    Bed wetting (especially if child had previously overcome the same)
  6.    Developing new fears
  7.    Vaginal discharge; pain when urinating and blood in underwear.

For children in adolescence signs may include: rebellious behavior, stealing, truancy, consumption of alcoholic beverages, smoking, promiscuity and self-harm.

**** It is important to note that these signs can be caused by illness or other situations. Seek medical advice if your child exhibits the abovementioned symptoms.****

 Child Abuse may occur at a tender age but its effects last well into adulthood. Many persons never get over the trauma of child abuse especially in severe untreated cases of neglect, physical and sexual abuse. For some, having been abused makes it extremely difficult to form positive long term relationships. Although it is unavoidable to take risks in life, do not place your child or children at unnecessary risk.

 

More Links:

http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/resources.htm

http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/information_service/safeguarding_information_service_wda47732.html

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/ending-violence-against-women-and-girls-in-the-uk

http://www.keepingchildrensafe.org.uk/toolkit 

http://www.parentsprotect.co.uk/.




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