Cayman film on child sexual abuse set for forum

| 18/07/2018
CNS Local Life

PSH working group members (L-R) Brandy Darby, Sophia Chandler-Alleyne, Nancy Davey, Suzanne Seagraves, Carolina Ferreira, Cindy Blekaitis, Kevin Ashworth, Laura Elniski and Mari Abe (not pictured: Camila Ferreira)

(CNS Local Life): The Cayman Islands will be showing a documentary on child sexual abuse, one of only four media presentations accepted, at an upcoming international congress on the issue. The US (one entry) and the UK (two) will also be presenting at the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) XXII International Congress on Child Abuse and Neglect being held in Prague, Czech Republic, this September.

The documentary, Unspeakable: Confronting Child Sexual Abuse in the Cayman Islands, is the second major output of the Protection Starts Here (PSH) multi-agency child abuse prevention project, spearheaded by the Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC), stated a press release.

Partnering with the Red Cross on the PSH initiative are the Employee Assistance Programme, the Health Services Authority, the Ministry of Education, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, Sands Creative Film Studio, and the Special Needs Foundation, with funding support from Hedge Funds Care Cayman Islands.

“We are thrilled and humbled to have been accepted to be a part of this global congress,” said Carolina Ferreira, Red Cross Deputy Director and Child Protection & Sexuality Education Programme Manager. “There is so much to be gained when people from around the world come together to discuss their efforts, share their research and experiences, and broaden their network of professional support and expertise. That Cayman will make a contribution to this global discussion makes us really proud.”

The project was launched in 2012 with a series of public service announcements, and since then the work has expanded to include multiple prevention and education outputs which include the production of the local educational documentary.

ISPCAN was formed in 1977 with a mission to prevent cruelty to children in every nation, in every form: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, street children, child fatalities, child prostitution, children of war, emotional abuse, and child labour. The organisation’s international congress is held every two years, and 2018 marks its 22nd such undertaking.

“One of ISPCAN’s stated goals is their commitment to increasing public awareness of child abuse, which is very much in line with the work of the Protection Starts Here group here in Cayman,” explained CIRC Director Jondo Obi. “Since 2012 the PSH working group has been doing really tremendous things to raise public awareness on the issue of child abuse in general and child sexual abuse specifically.

“They have really helped to shape conversations that we are having now because even six years ago these topics were not receiving this level of consistent awareness and attention.”

The working group has utilised Unspeakable during awareness sessions, and the documentary is available for free to the public in hard copy and online via the CIRedCrossTV channel on YouTube.

“I am extremely proud of Unspeakable and the way which Mari Abe and Ben Hud were able to help us put together such a high-quality documentary,” Ferreira added. “When we presented at the National Child Advocacy Center’s annual conference in Alabama earlier this year the participants were blown away by the film, so we know that we have something that holds up to international standards.”

The media presentation will involve not only the screening of the film, but also have an interactive component for the international audience. “It would be tremendous to be able to have more than one representative from Cayman there so that others can see how this partnership works,” Obi said. “The Red Cross is extremely proud of its partnerships, and this group is a testament to what can be done when people truly work together.”

For more information on the Protection Starts Here project or how to get involved in child abuse prevention in Cayman, email the CIRC or call 916-1742

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