The Department of Social Services in Grand Bahama began ‘Child Protection Month’ with a church service at Calvary Bible Church on Monday, April 4. During the service, Mrs. Dorothea Gomez, Acting Assistant Director, admonished that children should be in a violence-free environment.
Present for the service were Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe along with Deputy Director of Urban Renewal, Senator the Hon. Kirkland Russell, and other staff of the department. The theme for the month is “No Excuse for Abuse, Stop the Violence.”
Mrs. Gomez said it is the responsibility of the Department to ensure children are in a safe, stable, and nurturing environment that is free from violence of any kind. Giving statistics on cases reported to their department over the past three years, she said in 2020 the number of cases reported to them towards children were: 22 physical abuse, 11 sexual abuse and 26 cases of neglect. In 2021 there were 34 cases of physical abuse, 16 sexual abuse and 39 cases of child neglect. In 2022 so far in the first four months of the year, the reported cases include one abandonment, 32 physical abuse, 14 sexual abuse and 41 cases of neglect. This is a serious issue which needs to be addressed so that children can be raised in an environment that is free from violence, she said.
Pastor Darrin Rolle, pastor of Calvary Bible Church, said parents and godparents are responsible for taking children to church on Sunday. If they are not doing so, he said, it is a sin. Parents provide opportunities for the children to do everything else, but they need to also attend church. The staff at Social Services, he said, have an awesome job and he commended them for all they do.
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