CPFSA ups the ante to educate children about abuse through school tours

IN continuation of its child protection campaign, the Child Protection and Family Services (CPFSA) has ramped up efforts to heighten awareness of child abuse and promote child safety through a series of islandwide school tours.

Dubbed Mr Protector goes to school, the tours which resumed on Friday, following several conducted in May as part of the agency’s child month activities, features the CPFSA mascot joining its officers in visits to multiple schools to sensitise children about child abuse, child safety, bullying, and promotion of the agency’s 211, 24-hour child abuse reporting hotline.

Additionally, the tours seek to empower children to self-report any form of abuse experienced, whether at home, school, or in their communities.

“We know that many children are unaware of what child abuse is, so our overall objective is to educate them about how to identify different types of abuse, and how to seek help if they are being victimised in any way,” said the CPFSA.

It argued that the continuation of the tours is timely and vital as the issue of child abuse remains a serious concern, impacting many children in various settings.

Statistics from our National Children’s Registry reveal that a total of 5,114 reports of child abuse were received during the period April to July 2022, with behavioural, neglect, physical and sexual abuse ranking the highest.

Based on feedback from schools previously visited, the tours have been beneficial as the child protection messages were well received by the children as they are more educated to respond to instances of child abuse.

Principal of Independence City Primary School Anne Geddes-Nelson said that the initiative was an awesome experience for the students and staff at her institution as the children were informed about child abuse, their rights, and provided safety tips to protect themselves in and out of the home and school environs.

“The experience also gives children an opportunity to interact with CPFSA officers if they have any concerns regarding their well-being because sometimes they really need that sort of interaction if something is happening to them.

“So I am happy that the Independence City Primary School benefited from the interaction and we welcome the CPFSA team at our noble institution again in a similar fashion,” Geddes-Nelson said.

The schools visited on Friday were the Bath, Airy Castle, Lyssons, and Morant Bay primary schools in St Thomas. Other tours are scheduled for Portland on October 25 and Clarendon on October 28.

The CPFSA’s town crier was also out promoting the 211 hotline in nearby communities in St Thomas on Friday.

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