The children






© 2005, UNICEF Jamaica; Noorani
Teenage boys learn to play the guitar at a school for street children and children at risk in Kingston

The high rates of crime and violence experienced in Jamaica significantly impact the lives of children. Between January-October 2010, boys and girls aged 10-19 years accounted for 25.4 per cent of all intentional injuries and 27.4 per cent of all stab wound cases. In 2010, 4,500 cases of abuse were reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), 62 per cent of them being girls. “Neglect”[1] accounted for 56.2 per cent of the reported types of abuse, followed by physical (18.6 per cent) and sexual abuse (18.2 per cent). 

The cumulative effect of children’s exposure to violence has a devastating impact on learning and behaviour. The data show that children and adolescents account for approximately 26 per cent of perpetrators of major crimes. Eight hundred and fifteen children[2] and adolescents aged 12-19 years were arrested for committing a major crime[3] in 2010, with approximately 89% of them aged 15-19 years.  There were 1,796 child and adolescent victims of major crime; 61 per cent were in the 15-19 age group and 39 per cent 0-14. Vulnerability of females in the 15-19 age group is evident in the fact that 1,127 were reported as having been a victim of rape or carnal abuse. This equals 63 per cent of all victims aged 0-19 years.

Children and adolescents (0-19 years) accounted for 31 per cent of persons treated for attempted suicide at public hospitals from January to October 2010. The 2010 Global School Health Survey reported that 21.1 per cent of females and 23.1 per cent of males aged 13-15 years admitted to attempting suicide. Access to mental health services is limited, and vulnerable adolescents are particularly challenged in accessing proper diagnosis, medication or any support services.



[1]Neglect is any serious disregard for a child's supervision, care, or discipline. It includes the failure of a caregiver to provide for a child's basic needs, abandonment and exposing a child to danger

[2] Under Jamaican law, children under 12 years cannot be charged with a crime

[3] Major crimes include murder, shooting, robbery, larceny, carnal abuse and rape





Children and Violence


 Email this article

unite for children