Rivers wants mandatory training to protect kids

| 29/05/2015 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

Tara Rivers, Minister of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs

(CNS): Following the revelations in a recent PAHO report about the sexual health of young people in the Cayman Islands that many are facing significant abuse, the education minister is calling for mandatory training for people in all professions connected to children. Tara Rivers said the incidence of sexual activity and abuse of Cayman’s children is “very real and very disturbing”, as she revealed details of various education initiatives and multi-agency campaigns that are currently underway to tackle the issue.

But in addition to the existing training and awareness programmes, Rivers called for compulsory training of certain professionals and national standards for local youth-serving organisations as the lack of standards, she said, was a major risk factor empowering “perpetrators of child abuse”.

In a statement delivered in the Legislative Assembly Thursday (see below), she said the country needed to “take concerted, collective and decisive action to stem the tide and incidence of abuse, especially sexual abuse, of our children.”

Protective and Preventative Measures to Address Child Abuse, statement to the LA by Minister Tara Rivers, delivered 28 May 2015

The minister said the time had come to make child protection training mandatory for certain professions, and persons working in certain agencies and civil society organisations, especially those working with our children.

“More discussion of this will obviously need to happen, with the government as a whole and at a national level; however, it is a discussion that I would encourage to happen sooner rather than later.”

Currently there are no national standards for youth-serving organisations in the Cayman Islands, which she described as a risk factor.

But she added that the Cayman Islands Red Cross “Seal of Protection” initiative, which the ministry was part of, is an effort to identify, verify and recognise organisations and institutions which are putting necessary safety measures in place for the protection of children. To get the seal an institution that deals with kids, from early learning centres to youth groups, must carry out mandatory checking of criminal history records, have written policies and procedures on reporting, recruitment and interaction with youth/guidelines for day to day activities, codes of conduct and Darkness to Light training for staff and volunteers as well as first aid training.

Listing a number of initiatives and measures that the government is involved with to help protect children from the high levels of abuse believed to be happening in the community, the minister outlined a number of measures from those that cater to very young children to older teens.

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Comments (7)

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  1. ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

    Why don’t we start with the child endangerment issues that are easy to spot and demand that the police enforce the laws that are already in place?

    Everyday I see at least one car with one or more of the following displays of reckless behaviour toward the safety of children driving around on our roads.

    1. children without proper safety seats or even using seat belts
    2. children standing in the back seat
    3. small children in the front seat – there is a reason there is a warning about children under the age of 12 riding in the front seat posted on the sun visor – airbags hit adults in the chest when they deploy but would hit a child in the head
    4. children sitting on the lap of an adult (front seat and back)

    Adults can decide whether to wear their seat belts or not but a child does not know any better.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Wait now… it takes the Red Cross to point out what government should have been doing from the beginning of time? Why we have a Ministry of Youth? Why we have a “youth service” department? jeezum

  3. Anonymous says:

    Your social workers are trained but fail to investigate properly, underage children having sex is obviously ok because even when a child is pregnant and way under age nothing is done to bring the perpetrator to court.

  4. sam says:

    So when this training starts being mandatory? June1st? An international children’s day?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Mandatory training??? No tara what you need is when a child comes and states he or she is being abused and the individual goes to court and gets a mere three years instead their name and picture should be plastered all over and a minimum 20 year sentence. This has been going on for years and now the ostriches are getting their head out of the sand because someone else brought it to light. Good old common sense is what is needed!

    • Cass says:

      Well said totally agree. Figures they would come up with more useless crap she might as well had run with the ppm because she not doing a damn thing just like them!

    • Anonymous says:

      Publicity would harm the victims. Longer sentencing is a separate issue, and there is force in the complaints as to leniency. Too often criminals claim to find religion and get a lighter sentence than is deserved.

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