NGO coalition vows to fight child abuse
If members of the non-government organisations coalition against child abuse act as intensely as their language is colourful then perpetrators of child abuse would be advised to seek rocks to hide under.
Hear Gloria Walsh, the manager of the Love One Teach One Foundation: "Child sexual abuse is the systematic destruction of a human being."
And Francis Joseph of the A Ganar Programme: "It's a very, very frightening experience."
And Antonia Pierre of the National Youth Council: " This morning, I, Antonia Pierre, the publicity coordinator of the National Youth Council would like to make it known that we will no longer stand and tolerate this child sexual abuse epidemic that is happening in Dominica."
And Phillip Carlisle of CARIMAN, the Caribbean Male Action Network: "The question is can we afford to continue to allow those bizarre acts." And Gelina Fontaine of Children Fund Caribbean: "This year every four days we have a child or a youth being violated. This is the Nature Island of Dominica where the innocence of children are supposed to be preserved."
One more, from Vanya David of the National Council of Women: "We are saddened by the increase numbers of cases we are hearing. We have seen and heard of our Dominican children crying."
These organizations and seven others have formed the NGO Coalition for the Protection of Children and Youth in Dominica; they met on Wednesday last week at the Dominica Public Service Union building on Valley Road in Roseau to officially launch the organization that was formed in March 2014.
"We came about because of so many things happening to our young people, our children," said Thomas Holmes, the Chairman of the NGO Coalition. "Our children need voices."
Holmes said there were more than 490 sexual abuse cases against children between 2009 and 2012 and they include incest, unlawful carnal knowledge, touching and fondling, oral and anal sex and the viewing of pornographic material. "We exist because we are alarmed" by the violation "of the very young including infants and toddlers by family members and unfortunately by practitioners and service providers whom we depend on to protect our children," Holmes said.
And the statistics of child sexual abuse that Fontaine presented may have sealed the case for the need for the formation of the NGO Coalition.
"We are very concerned by the current child sexual abuse cases are too frequent. June has not ended to complete the half year and approximately 86 cases have already been reported," she said. "That means that every 2-3 days one youth was being sexually violated. That is way too frequent for a country of such small population."
The group said it will use education, legislation and advocacy to achieve its aim of reducing the number of sexual offences against children in Dominica.