Almost 100,000 calls in six months to report child abuse

THE National Children’s Registry (NCR) says a total 94,876 calls were made to the 211 toll-free line created for children to report abuse between January and June this year, with “neglect being the most prevalent type of report received”, followed by reports of children displaying various behavioural issues.

The 24-hour helpline, which has been operational since June last year, is the first of its kind in Jamaica and can be dialled from a cellular or landline telephone, free of cost. It is operated by professionals from the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA), through the National Children’s Registry.

According to preliminary figures from the registry reflecting child abuse incident types — which were obtained by the Jamaica Observer — a total 4,055 reports of neglect were logged, in addition to 3,899 of physical abuse; 2,869 for care and protection; 2,392 of physical abuse; and 2,106 of sexual abuse. There were also 950 reports of emotional abuse, 284 of child labour, 64 reports of bullying, and 27 of child trafficking. According to the registry, a feature of most reports it receives is the occurrence of two or more forms of abuse against children. Therefore, it said, the incident types will be greater than the number of reports received.

The National Children’s Registry was established as a provision of the Child Care and Protection Act 2004 (CCPA) in 2007. The registry is a central point for the receipt, recording, assessment and referral of reports that are made by persons who know or suspect that a child is, or is at risk of being abused, neglected or is otherwise in need of care and protection. Between 2007 and 2019 a total of 121,295 reports were made to the registry. Reports of incidents that are received are regarded as allegations, as investigations by the respective agencies may either confirm an incident as reported or indicate otherwise.

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