Category: Dominica Created on Friday, 25 May 2012 07:47
A place of safety for children at risk was officially opened in Chance, Jimmit a little over a year ago. The over three million dollar facility dubbed “ Chances” is home to about thirty children who have been victims of psychological, physical or sexual abuse for a maximum of six months.
Hon. Minister for Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs, Gloria Shillingford, sees the facility as a step closer to providing adequate and secure shelter for young people who suffer abuse.
“Over the years, the Welfare Division has had to craft strategies in response to the growing incidence of reported cases of child abuse in Dominica. But not only cases of sexual abuse, but also physical and psychological abuse and to a lesser extent, abandonment. The statistics on such cases is real cause for concern. The responsibility of finding secure places for these children once they were removed from the endangering environment has not been easy to discharge. This facility brings us a step closer in overcoming the difficulty encountered in providing a safe and secure home for these children at risk.”
There is no doubt that the purpose of this place of safety is to improve the life chances of children and young people who are vulnerable, abused or excluded. The greatness of a nation is to be judged not by the number of millionaires it generates, important as this is, but by the care and protection it provides to its vulnerable, disadvantaged and abused citizens. That care and protection do not constitute an end but rather, it allows those at risk to experience and share the benefits of a normal family where members love, respect and protect each other. In other words, the place of safety is intended to contribute to the creation of socially well-adjusted children and young people at risk of going astray and adopting lifestyles that would be detrimental to themselves and to the wider society.”
Director of the Social Justice and Peace Committee Father Franklyn Cuffy says the opening of CHANCES in Dominica is a step in the right direction.
“It gives us hope and it raises the consciousness that there is a need to help the young people,” he said.
Let us pray, that all governments will continue to work towards creating the enabling environment for those children considered to be at risk as well as address all areas of juvenile delinquency on the Island. There is also an urgent need for the government to adopt a similar approach in dealing with the issue of juvenile delinquency, as there are an increasing number of young persons who find themselves at the mercy of the Court, only to be incarcerated with older seasoned criminals at the state prison.
Let’s hope that amidst all the developmental plans carded for the country, that particular attention is paid to improving this situation and raise the hope for our young people as they are our future leaders.