Office of the Prime Minister speaks out on child abuse

Tuesday, January 19, 2016 - 20:00

The Gender and Child Affairs Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister is calling for a breaking of the silence in relation to abuse of children.

Reports this week point to the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old child.

The Office of the Prime Minister issued this statement today:

"The Honourable Prime Minister and Minister of State are saddened by the reports in the daily newspapers concerning the safety of our nation’s children.

We have seen over the past few days issues of suicide, teenage pregnancy, child sexual abuse, teenage prostitution and the death of a child due to drowning. 

These are all horrendous experiences that have caused our children to suffer. 

As a people, we see our children as the cornerstone of our great nation, and recognise that acts of abuse and neglect are symptoms of a wider problem plaguing our society.

Child abuse and neglect are not acceptable. Silence only results in the festering of harmful thoughts and practices that negatively affect our children. We must talk about it. We must report it. We must break the silence.

The Office of the Prime Minister is committed to creating and supporting avenues that allow for free expression and open dialogue with our children. 

We endorse the right of every child to freedom of expression, recognizing that in this age of technology, children may choose non-traditional avenues to disclose information and share their feelings. 

We want to assure the nation that our state agencies and partners are monitoring these platforms, to ensure our children are heard and helped when needed.

To safeguard our children, several initiatives are underway to assist in understanding and preventing child abuse and neglect such as the “Break the Silence” campaign. 

These initiatives encourage citizens and in particular children, to speak out on abuse and neglect. 

The Office is ensuring that there are places of safety available to all children who have been abused, regardless of gender, sex, religious background, race and economic standings.

To promote and sustain a child-friendly environment, the Office of the Prime Minister would like to remind every citizen to join with the Government, as it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our children. 

As a nation, let us reflect on the positive ways in which we can impact a child’s life. Each child is precious and critical for our development as a society. 

We cannot pass the blame to someone else. We are all responsible. Let us break the silence against all forms of child abuse.

If you know or are suspicious of any incidents of child abuse or neglect, contact the Children’s Authority at 800-2014, or ChildLine at 800-4321."