British Virgin Islands
Raising Awareness about Child Abuse
As part of its on-going efforts to protect children from physical and sexual abuse, the Department of Social Services in the British Virgin Islands has been implementing a number of activities targeting parents and caregivers during the month of April, which is celebrated annually as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention month.
This month they have held a number of parenting classes focusing on topics such as “Communicating with Children;” “Self-esteem;” “Stages of development in children;” and “How to discipline to reinforce behaviors.” The idea is to teach parents how they can discipline children without abusing them.
The Department has also used opportunities such the recently held health fair and the agricultural fair to reach persons with information about abuse. At these fairs they have distributed items such as buttons with the messages “ hands are for helping not for hitting” and have also taken the opportunity to talk to patrons about child abuse.
In the long term, the Department not only hopes to raise public awareness about the issue of child abuse but also to establish a protocol on child abuse which is in the process of being developed. It is hope that this protocol will lead to better management of child abuse cases from the time of the initial reporting of the incident until the investigation is completed.