Child Protection




© UNICEF Jamaica/2008/Markisz
A young resident of the violence-prone community of Trenchtown

Efficient Systems ▪ Child-Friendly Services ▪ Promotion of Children’s Rights

The Vision

Child victims of abuse and violence and children who come into contact and conflict with the law get better care, treatment and more child-friendly services from a child protection system that works more efficiently to reduce and prevent child protection violations among particularly vulnerable groups.

The Situation

·         Every day, between January and October 2010, 20 children and adolescents ages 0-19 were treated in emergency rooms for intentional violence-related injuries, which included over 19,000 cases of sexual assault, stab wounds, gunshots and blunt force injury.

·         Between January-October 2010, boys and girls aged 10-19 years accounted for 25.3 per cent of all intentional injuries, 27 per cent of all stab wound cases, 42 per cent of all attempted suicides, and notably 68 per cent of all Jamaicans who reported being sexually assaulted (mainly girls).

·         In 2010, 6,330 cases of physical, sexual and emotional abuse of boys and girls were reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR). In the first seven months of 2011, the OCR received 4,592 reports.  

·         Increasingly, children are involved as perpetrators of criminal activities and coming into contact/conflict with the law.  During 2010, 1,431 children (of whom 232 were girls) appeared before the courts for murder, sexual abuse, robbery, wounding and possession of firearms.

·         In 2010, approximately 8,000 children required psycho-social services.

·         In 2010, 2,488 children were living in residential homes as wards of the state. 469 children were detained in lock-ups (116) and held in juvenile correctional centres (353). At least 50 were held in adult correctional facilities.

Sources: Economic and Social Survey 2010; Office of the Children’s Registry; Ministry of Health

The Strategies


·         Strengthen key components of the child protection system and coordination of the sector, including the creation of community-based child protection committees and strengthening of inter-agency referral mechanisms. A comprehensive assessment of the child protection sector will be conducted as the basis for developing a Child Protection System Action Plan.



·         Improve the quality and delivery of psychosocial services and community-based interventions for particularly vulnerable children, including mental health services for children in the care of the state, mechanisms to protect children in emergencies and early response services for child sexual abuse.

·         Advocate for zero tolerance to violence against children, the use of positive forms of discipline and changes in cultural practices that are harmful to children, including a complete ban on corporal punishment.




·         Strengthen a range of rehabilitation and re-integration services for children in state care and those in conflict with the law, to make the services more child-friendly and to bring them into compliance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international treaties. This will include the creation of standards to guide the delivery of services, strengthening of family-based care options, building the capacity of residential care and correctional centre staff who interface with children and establishing independent inspectorates for residential state institutions.

·         Support the development and implementation of key national policies and programmes, including the National Plan of Action (NPA) on Child Justice, the NPA on an Integrated Response to Children and Violence and the National Child Diversion Programme.


·         Improve collection, analysis and use of data on child rights violations, with an emphasis on improving accessibility to and use of gender and age disaggregated data, to inform stronger advocacy, programming and monitoring.


Key strategic partners: Child Development Agency (CDA), Ministry of Justice, Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA), Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Ministry of National Security, Ministry of Health, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP),  International Labour Organization (ILO).












View this report by the Office of the Children's Advocate for details on the state of foster children in Jamaica.

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Read our global Child Protection Strategy, which defines UNICEF's contribution to national and international efforts to fulfill children's rights to protection and to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)


UNICEF Jamaica fact sheet on the impact of violence on children

(PDF documents require Acrobat Reader to view.)

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