Fri | Dec 14, 2018

PM promises stronger protection for children

Published:Thursday | December 6, 2018 | 12:00 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Prime Minister Andrew Holness says that the Child Care and Protection Act and the Domestic Violence Act are among four pieces of legislation that are being amended as part of the steps his Government is taking to end violence against children.

"Work continues at the level of the legislature on four key pieces of legislation to be amended: the Child Care and Protection Act, the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences Against the Person Act, and the Domestic Violence Act," Holness told regional and international children advocates, via video presentation, at a child-protection conference, in Montego Bay in St James last Sunday.

The five-day second regional Caribbean Child-Protection Conference, which was taking place at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, was being staged under the theme 'Realities within a Changing Caribbean and World'.

According to the prime minister, the Government is pursuing several initiatives that demonstrate the importance it places on matters affecting children.

"These include Jamaica's designation in 2016 as a pathfinder country, which identifies Jamaica as a regional leader in the global partnership to end violence against children," said Holness.

According to the prime minister, the mission coincides with the vision that Jamaica has for its children, pointing out that Jamaica is the first Caribbean nation to have signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1991 after it was promulgated in 1989.

"Jamaica is also the only country in the region to have an independent commission of Parliament that has been vested with the responsibility for protecting the rights and best interests of all our children," continued Holness.

 

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN OF ACTION

 

Holness went on to state that the Office of the Children's Advocate has been recognised as a model that governments from Australia, the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, the United States, Brazil, and Barbados have all partnered with in drafting measures and policies that can help them to protect children against violence.

"We are committed to the accelerated targets that as a country, we must achieve by 2030 and will demonstrate to other states the path that must be trod to reduce negative outcomes for children," said Holness.

"Jamaica has finalised a national plan of action for an integrated response to children and violence. This plan of action is a comprehensive one that looks at the various underlying issues that look at issues that make children vulnerable to violence and identifies meaningful interventions that can be taken to prevent and/or minimise incidents of violence."

He added: "My passion, both as a government official and a devoted father, is well known, and I can assure you that our Government will continue to make a priority actions geared at protecting our children in meaningful ways."