Brac sports officials learn about child abuse prevention

| 20/02/2017
CNS Local Life

DCFS Director Felicia Robinson leads the session on prevention of child abuse

(CNS Local Life): A delegation from the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports travelled to Cayman Brac on Thursday, 9 February, to kick off the first in a series of child abuse prevention training sessions specifically targeting sports administrators and officials. The sessions, which are led by the Director of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), Felicia Robinson, are being conducted in support of the recently approved Child Abuse Prevention Policy for Sports Associations. The training of various sports officials is a requirement of the policy.

The Children’s Law (2012 Revision) requires mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse cases from any member of the public and charges the DCFS with dealing with these cases. One of the primary functions of the Child Abuse Prevention Policy is to create a structure within each association to properly report suspicions of child abuse.

At the training session, Robinson sought to educate the sports administrators, coaches and officials on the effects of child abuse and the importance of the policy. These effects can include long-term emotional scarring of an individual well into adulthood.

She explained that under the law, child abuse includes not just sexual abuse, but also physical or emotional abuse and neglect of a child.

In each of these four categories, she provided detailed descriptions of what would constitute child abuse and proceeded to provide a comprehensive list of the symptoms of abuse so that those working with children in a sporting environment could recognise the telltale signs.

Robinson also detailed the process through which suspicions of child abuse are to be reported to the DCFS through the child protection officers of each club and the National Sporting Association.

She reminded the attendees that each association must have a child protection officer who is responsible for facilitating the reporting of suspicions of child abuse from any official or member of the association, and who must also ensure that each member club has an appropriately trained officer.

Sports in the Sister Islands are coordinated through Sports Association of the Sister Islands, which worked closely with the ministry to conduct the training. Some 14 key sports officials representing a wide cross-section of sports attended the training.

In exhorting the attendees to join the fight against child abuse, Minister of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports Osbourne Bodden said, “Shielding our children from harm and the risk of abuse is both a statutory obligation and one for which all civic-minded citizens are jointly accountable. We all share a profound duty of care to act responsibly, and with urgency in protecting our children from harm.”

Bodden advised the participants that the ministry, DCFS and the attorney general’s office had taken a lot of time and care to formulate the policy to ensure that it would be effective and in compliance with the Children’s Law.

Chevala Burke, vice president of the Sister Islands Swim Club and parent volunteer, said that she found the training to be informative, engaging and relevant to many of the issues faced by children in the Cayman Islands and around the world. She added that the ability to address questions directly to the minister and ministry staff was especially useful to the representatives at the training session.

Training will take place in Grand Cayman from 16-23 February for association presidents, technical directors and child protection officers.

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Category: Sports

Comments (1)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sounds interesting. It should be taken further to include church youth groups as a particular youth worker is also known as a predictor. Also, take heed at who local child protection officers are at schools. Mess.