Linden has most child abuse cases in Region 10 – CCPA Director
By Utamu BellWith Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) recording the largest number of child abuse cases in Guyana in 2017, with a 22.1 per cent of the country’s total, Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) Director Ann Greene has confirmed that most of the reported cases in the Region came from Linden.According to information from the Agency, the overall rate of child abuse for Guyana in 2017 is 15.8 per 1000 children.Greene recently noted the importance of understanding “rates”, in terms of population size when looking at the number of children being abused, as she pointed out that Region 10 has the highest rate.She also indicated that Region 10 has the highest rate of child neglect and sexualCCPA Director Ann Greeneabuse. Greene noted that there was hardly any neglect reported in Regions Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) and Eight (Potaro-Siparuni), but stressed that there was a high rate of sexual abuse.“In every thousand children, 15 are being abused. If you look at last year’s stats data, it also means every two hours a child is abused; every day 11 children (are) abused. When you look at figures like that, when you give numbers, it must say something for you … in terms of the population of children. So, the rate is saying something … More people live in Region Four, so most of our abuse would be in Region Four, but (according to) rate, Region 10 is the highest,” Greene explained.In 2016, the highest rate came from Region Seven. Greene noted that these were only the reported cases, which she said were “just the tip of the iceberg”, adding that child abuse was “a hidden crime”.As such, she called for sexual regulation at the family level, as she explained that there was much more work to be done. m “It is done behind closed doors and some children really ain’t got a voice … Some children not even aware that they are being abused. We got children didn’t even know that it is wrong to sleep with their brother or sleep with their father. Because sexual regulation has to be done in the family and families perhaps don’t have the capacity to make the children understand … it’s a lot of work that we got to do,” Greene pointed out. She added that data obtained would assist the Agency in programme planning. In this regard, Greene said the Agency would be looking at the Linden community, given that most of the cases for Region 10 derived from it. Other cases, she noted, came from riverine areas such as Kwakwani.In looking at the factors which may be responsible for the high rate in the Region, the CCPA Director said a lot of it may be considered general. “A lot of it is parents lacking the capacity to parent –- intellectually and everything they’re lacking and they put the children at risk”.Other factors outlined by Greene are poverty and substance and domestic abuse, which she explained all create vulnerability in children. Poverty, she noted, is a fundamental factor which cannot be excused. “So, we got to look at the low-income groups. Mother got to go out and work and the children are left with not proper caregivers and they are exposed … it’s not that Region 10 really different from anywhere else, it’s just that the rate comes in, in terms of the population,” she explained. Greene further explained that the Agency planned to heighten the level of awareness, which she noted, ultimately leads to an increase in reports. It is her belief that there is not an increase in child abuse, but rather in the reporting of such cases, as she explained that the rate showed that awareness programmes were working. “Getting an increase in reports could mean … people are more willing to talk…,” Greene explained.