BREAK THE SILENCE: END CHILD SEXUAL ABUSEMonday 11th March 2013
Antigua and Barbuda leg of the “Break the Silence: End Child sexual Abuse”, initiative is set to hit the road on Friday, 22 March 2013, during a Church Service at the Zion Church of Prophesy to mark the beginning of Social Work Week.
The yearlong campaign dubbed the “Innocence Project”, being executed by the Citizens’ Welfare Division, within the Department of Social Transformation forms part of government’s push to “reverse the culture of silence, and reduce its implications for child abuse.”
The campaign aims to specifically increase public awareness about existing resources for preventing and responding to child abuse in all its forms, and influence stakeholders to increase their commitment to policies and interventions that prevent and address the scourge.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Social Transformation Senator Malaka Parker said, whilst the government through the Division of Social Transformation continues to do its part in this fight to protect our vulnerable girls, our women and mothers of tomorrow, strategic partnership alliances would be required at all levels to strengthen the drive to educate, advocate, empower and stimulate the discussion and feed the momentum in the fight to protect our women and young girls.
“ The ‘Innocence Project’, a yearlong campaign aimed at penetrating the cover of silence which feeds the abuse of all children, and in particular, our girls. This campaign will be comprised of many components, which will seek to incorporate agencies and stakeholders at all levels in our push to Break the Silence,” explained Parker.
She indicated that the initiative will also see the Ministry’s move to, throughout the life of the campaign review and strengthen the operations of the childcare protection agencies as well as a comprehensive revision of all juvenile related legislation.
She disclosed that “as part of the program activities, Antigua & Barbuda will realize the implementation of a comprehensive National Child Protection Policy which will reinforce and outline the protocols for corporation with key agencies such as the police department, our teachers and medical professionals.”
To this end, a Steering Committee Chaired by the Ministry’s Publicist Onika Campbell, with the strong technical backing of the Chief Welfare Officer Cindy Price, Director of Social Policy, Research and Planning Almira Henry, and Ag. Principal Probation Officer Alethia Byers are working feverishly to create and sustain a groundswell of support and activism among stakeholders who will take the “Innocence Project” to their various publics through several “calls to action”.
The UNICEF, Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Khin –Sandi Lwin, will be in Antigua & Barbuda to unveil the campaign symbol –a blue teddy bear with a plaster on its heart, which will also be highlighted throughout the twin –island state, as the ministry forge partnerships with various institutions, women and children’s non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), faith-based organizations, community –based organizations, service providers, relevant governmental institutions and policy makers.
Action –oriented activities will form the backdrop of the various programs throughout the life of the 12 months campaign in the form of workshops and trainings, creative expressions, sports and recreations, concerts, media campaigns, school lectures, the introduction of a Child Abuse hotline, fun walk and run and other community based activities.
For additional Information on how to partner with us on this critical issue, please contact the Chairperson of the Innocence Project Onika Campbell at email@example.com or call 562-8284/5/6, to suggest an activity for the annual calendar of events.
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