Representatives of NGOs at Friday's Press Conference
Representatives of NGOs at Friday's Press Conference

We the Non-Government and Civil Society representatives wish to share with you, our fellow Dominicans, our disappointment with the alarming cases of sexual crimes committed against very young children and youth particularly in recent times by not only family friends and relatives, but by child practitioners and others in authority.

We wish to publicly denounce these inhumane acts against children that severely affect the children's dignity and hope for a prosperous future.

We are calling on all our friends and colleagues in the Government and the public at large to recommit and strengthen all our efforts to address this issue very loudly together; to advocate for all those who are vulnerable to abuse, which includes not only children under eighteen but also those over eighteen attending institutions of higher education.

Child abuse is not solely confined to the home setting. Abusers can also be those in authority in daycares, preschools, schools, churches, colleges and even those in law enforcement departments.

We call on the Government and policy makers to:

Set the mandate that all public service employees and child care institutions/services sign and adhere to child protection and ethical behavior policies that hold them accountable to the most serious consequences as an essential condition of employment for those employed to be working with children should be mandated to protect the children and youth in their care. Abuse must be exposed and addressed.

Establish that all teachers, nurses and other professionals to be mandated to report all cases of child abuse to the proper authorities.

Ensure that the appropriate authorities apply due diligence and transparency in addressing all reported cases to so that children are protected and receive the justice they deserve

Revise the current laws to penalize those who initiate and receive bribes at the cost of our children's future.

Unfortunately, it is a sad fact, that all financial investments we make in this present day will be mostly wasted if the emotional, physical and psychological health of our children and our population is not preserved. You may be unaware, but the scourge of sexual abuse of our young children and women is currently a prime cause of the increasing divorce rate in our country today. Abuse, dependency, transactional sex and other such ills collectively will and is affecting all of us morally and economically as a county and is perpetuating the sad cycle of poverty that we're all investing to end.

Please help us make a real difference. This needs to stop today!