Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Acting Director in the Department of Probation and Child Protection Services, Gerald Connor, said that it is extremely important for children to identify and understand abuse early to minimize its long-term effects.
Mr. Connor was at the time discussing the protection of children during the COVID-19 Pandemic on the June 16 edition of “Working for You.” He noted that there are violence and abuse in the home and that is something that should not be hidden within society as children are often exposed to such behaviours.
“We need to start teaching our children these things at a very early age so that they would be able to recognize when something is not right and knowing the appropriate persons to go and speak to and put it out there that they can bring help that is needed as much as possible to their homes and their loves to bring stability,” said Mr. Connor.
The acting director made brief mention of an online forum between the Legal Aid Clinic, Special Victims Unit (SVU) and Gender Affairs, noting that several issues from the lockdown in 2020 due to COVID-19 were discussed.
“We looked at the various issues that have been coming out from the first lockdown that we had. We need to look at what transpired to learn from that so that we would understand how to go about dealing with these things just in case we would go back to that point again,” he said. “[We] have to make sure that the systems are in place, people are able to access services that are needed during those periods and ensure that families are properly equipped to make it through those periods.”
Mr. Connor reminded the general public that there are laws in St. Kitts and Nevis that protect children from violence and abuse. He noted that if a child is “exposed to domestic abuse they can report” the incident and the department and police will intervene “because once you expose a child to this type of behaviour and lifestyle it damages the child emotionally and mentally.”
He added that mandated reporters also play an important role and they are to report any form of domestic abuse once witnessed.