VPA Encourages Dialogue on Strengthening Families & Child Safety
Professor Elizabeth Ward, chair of the Violence Prevention Alliance (VPA) is urging organisations involved in peace dialogues to include family strengthening and child-safety provisions in their discussions and agreements.
She made the recommendation while addressing the Manchester Peace Coalition Civic Ceremony for World Peace Day on September 21, which was observed under the theme “Shaping Peace Together’.
“As we meet as stakeholders, representatives of civil society we must acknowledge the ills being faced in society, affecting our parish, use the data to guide accordingly and form/strengthen partnerships for catalyzing action. Close association and opportunities to strengthen ability of families to better safeguard children must be seized,” she pointed out.
Professor Ward also mentioned that this approach is more important now in light of the vulnerability of children as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Recent research is showing that the home may not be safe for many families who experience domestic violence as it impacts both intimate partners and children. COVID-19 has caused major economic devastation, disconnected many from community resources and support systems and created widespread tensions, uncertainty and panic,” she said.
“When mouth a mash up, when quarrels erupt in confined spaces due to lockdown and quarantine, violence in the home spills over into our hospitals,” she added.
The VPA chair said before the pandemic, the data showed that almost a quarter or 24 per cent of victims of violence related injuries seen at the hospitals were 19 years and under. Meanwhile, eight out of 10 children ages two to14 years, experienced some form of violent discipline. Another 30 per cent of students surveyed feared going to school because of bullying.
Dr. Clifton Reid, chair of the Manchester Peace Coalition said the lack of peace continues to be a stumbling block for a successful development of the country.
“The theme for this year’s International Day of Peace, ‘Shaping Peace Together,’ provides a grand opportunity to mobilize our people towards a common goal of designing, shaping and nurturing peace,” he said.
The Coalition observed week of activities to mark the observation of International Peace Day. This included a virtual peace panel discussion and peace concert and church service. Meanwhile, the VPA hosted a Facebook Live session on ‘Music in the Homes’ in collaboration with the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.
The session showcased drumming pieces by wards of the state who have benefitted from the Drum Therapy Project, which was recently implemented in six children’s homes.
Violence Prevention Alliance| Institute for Sustainable Development|3 Gibraltar Camp Way| UWI, Mona| Kingston 7|Tele/fax: 702-2079| www.vpajamaica.com; October 4 , 2020