For Immediate Release
Justice Minister Calls on Jamaicans to Exercise Greater Child Care and Protection Practices
Manchester, Jamaica. Minister of Justice, the Hon. Delroy Chuck, is urging Jamaicans to partner with The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) and law enforcement officials to ensure the protection of children and the prosecution of child offenders.
Minister Chuck was speaking at the handover ceremony of the second Victim Service Branch Child-Friendly Space under the U.S.-Jamaica Child Protection Compact Partnership, in Mandeville, on Friday, August 18.
“Across Jamaica our children are being abused, violated, molested, trafficked and in far too many cases murdered, and that is why the Ministry of Justice is playing a significant role to join in partnership, not only with international agencies like USAID and the Warnarth group, but also with other Ministries to see how we can protect our children, “stated Minister Chuck
He later added “We are asking all Jamaicans to partner with the police, The Victim Services of the Ministry of Justice and other areas to ensure that our children can be protected and their violations prevented.”
The partnership between the United States (US) and Jamaica to establish Child-Friendly spaces across the island began in 2018 to strengthen the country’s efforts to identify and provide comprehensive trauma-informed care, prosecution and conviction as well as prevention of child trafficking in all its forms.
“The implementing partners the Warnarth Group has sought to build the capacity of the Jamaican law enforcement officers and victim service providers to increase the level of victim centred care which is appropriate and tailored to the needs of the victims,” the Minister stated
Child-Friendly spaces assist the Social Justice Division in the Ministry, through the Victim Services Branch, in getting children prepared to provide credible evidence that the court will need to convict offenders and to deal with the effects of having to give evidence in court.
Children’s Advocate, Mrs Diahann Gordon-Harrison in commending the partners said, “Child friendly spaces are a game changer and have a fantastic impact on children who come to the system, vulnerable, traumatized and emotionally afflicted. This space augurs well for justice in Jamaica and for the social face of justice which we all recognize is important if we’re going to get true and fair justice.”
Chargé d'Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Amy Tachco also commended the work of the Victim Services staff who received specialized training from the Warnarth Group to respond to the needs of children who have experienced trauma and hailed the partnership as a solid thrust to improving the lives of vulnerable children.
Child-Friendly spaces are designed to help children who are victims of crime to feel safe, calm, and comfortable while interacting with professionals, to include law enforcement officers, social workers, healthcare professionals and prosecutors.
The first Child-Friendly space, under the partnership, was launched in Portland. A third space is slated to be launched in St James.
Photo Caption Minister of Justice, the Hon. Delroy Chuck, (centre) at the launch of the Victim Service Division Child-Friendly Space under the U.S.-Jamaica Child Protection Compact Partnership, in Mandeville, on Friday, August 18. Accompanying him are (L-R) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Justice GraceAnn Stewart McFarlane; Custos of Manchester Lt Col. Garfield Green; Member of Parliament Manchester Central, Rhoda Crawford; Chargé d'Affaires at the United States Embassy in Kingston, Amy Tachco; Country Project Director, Warnarth Group Aylair Livingstone; Manager of the Trafficking in Persons Secretariat in the Ministry of National Security, Audrey Budhi; and Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison.