March 13, 2019
The protection of girls and boys from all forms of violence, and the promotion of their wellbeing, are closely linked to the development of societies worldwide, The Bahamas included.
Guided by a strong commitment to Children’s Rights; which includes ensuring that a child’s right to be free from all forms of violence and abuse is adhered to, the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, through its Departments and Divisions, will continue to work diligently, to end all forms of violence against children, whether in the community, at school, or at home.
It is our most sincere belief, that even one case of abuse or violence against our boys and girls, is one case too many.
The social protection of children is paramount to everything that we do. Therefore, the placement of the Urban Renewal Commission within the portfolio of the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development has enabled the ministry to expand its social protection programmes into the nine urban communities in New Providence 5 in Grand Bahama, and the 8 additional Centres in communities across the Family Islands.
Social protection consists of policies and programmes designed to reduce poverty and vulnerability, while diminishing exposure to certain social risks, among other key factors.
Additionally, the National Child Protection Council (NCPC) and the Child Protection Unit of the Department of Social Services continue to address the issue of violence and abuse against boys and girls through various programmes and initiatives.
The Ministry has ongoing collaborations with the Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Unit of the Ministry of Health, in addition to public and private stakeholders, in an attempt to reduce the instances of violence and abuse against boys and girls.
Longstanding collaborations with the Royal Bahamas Police Force on matters ranging from child protection, to violence against men and women and boys and girls, gender and family affairs, and trafficking in persons (TIPS) are ongoing through its various Departments such as the Department of Gender and Family Affairs, the Department of Social Services, the Department of Rehabilitative and Welfare Services and the Urban Renewal Commission.
The Department of Gender and Family Affairs and the Department of Social Services, have prioritized their programming to address the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls and boys and men, while simultaneously providing comprehensive services for victims/survivors and their families.
Violence against children is a most pervasive human rights violation and even though the Ministry, through its many Departments and Divisions remains highly committed to addressing this issue, we cannot do it alone..
Therefore, we urge Bahamians across communities throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to be vigilant in this fight to keep our boys and girls and indeed our citizens free from violence.
We admonish parents, guardians, caregivers, teachers, neighbours, family members - everyone - to play their part in ensuring that our precious children, who represent the future of our country remain free from exposure to violence in all forms.