On October 8, 2018 the Child Rights Alliance (CRA) in collaboration with the Child Advocacy Centre (CAC) held a round table discussion with various stakeholders to discuss the findings of Cries in The Dark-Child Sexual Abuse in Guyana Today, at the National Library Conference Room.
Presentations were made by Mrs. Leslyn Halley of the Guyana Police Force and ChildLinK’s Child advocacy Centre staffs Rolanda Campbell, Nicole Whaul and Kaiesha Perry. Nicole Whaul, who presented the finding of the report, stated that while it is important to protect children from strangers, it is also important to keep a watchful eye around family members and other adults since 82% of abusers are a known adult or a family member. She added that “educating your children about sex and sexual abuse is one of the best preventative measures since it will help them to identify abuse when it happens and report”.
Rolanda Campbell, ChildLinK’s Child Advocacy Center Forensic Interviewer for Region Four advised that it is important that victims of sexual abuse have trauma counselling and stress management since child sexual abuse may have a lasting negative impact on a child psychologically. She added that “having someone to talk to is very important for children that were sexually abused”.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is one of the most devastating forms of violence a person can suffer. Without adequate intervention, sexual abuse may permanently change a child’s life course, with echoes throughout the child’s family, community and nation. Reported cases of child sexual abuse have increased and whilst this increase cannot be seen as an increase in child sexual abuse it is clear that the real figures on the number of children who have experienced sexual abuse are unknown and that there is significant under-reporting.
Participants related that there is a capacity for more development as it relates to educating children about sexual abuse, particularly children with disabilities. ChildLinK along with our partners are working towards raising awareness and sensitizing to create a Guyanese society where every child is safe.