National Child Abuse Prevention Month, observed in April seeks to acknowledge the importance of families and communities working together to prevent child abuse. Communities are encouraged to share child abuse prevention strategies and promote prevention across the country.This is extremely important because this is the ideal time to not just respond to abuse, but to share prevention strategies. As such, this month seeks to engender an evidence based discussion amongst neighbors, communities, NGO’s, faith based organizations, businesses, schools, friends and families to mitigate the effects of these crimes. This year, our partner agency Unicef has encouraged us to place special emphasis on men denouncing abuse. The commemoration of April as Child Abuse Month can bring benefits to families and victims such as :
- It seeks to provide victims and families with resources to gain help. For example, in schools and communities we have been educating citizens on the nature of abuse and abuse response agencies by the acronym: ACT: F.A.S.T
- It aims to remove the guilt and shame associated with child sexual abuse. This shame often maintains abuse due to the fears associated with sharing
- A Unicef study report titled: Sexual Violence Against Children in the Caribbean (2012)
asserted that Trinidad & Tobago lacked readily available information on child abuse services and support. As such this month seeks to ensure that such information is shared as much as possible
Victims and families can access help through OPM GCA’s:
ACT F.A.S.T Acronym:
- F: Family: National Family Services: 624-8218 or 627-1163, and a trusted family
member that can assist in the process.
- A: Authority: Police Service: 999 (Victim & Witness Support Unit & The Child Protection
Unit) and The Children’s Authority: 996 / 800-2014
- S: School: Student Support Services (Guidance Counsellors and School Social Workers)
Teachers, Principals etc.
- T: Telephone/ Trusted Adult: Child Line: 131 or 800-4321 and a trusted adult to guide the process.
A member of the public can utilize any of the response agency numbers shared above in question number five. However, if they would like to communicate with the OPM: GCA, one can visit our Facebook page (The Office of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago) to gain access to more resources or call 627-1163.