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Child abuse conference Nov 20 to 21

Caribbean ministerial delegations will focus on ending sexual violence against children when they meet at the Hilton Barbados Resort from November 20 to 21, 2012.

The conference, themed Combating Sexual Violence Against Children – From Isolated Actions to Integrated Strategies, is being convened within the United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE campaign to End Violence Against Women, and will be hosted by the Government of Barbados and UN Caribbean offices.

It is also being supported by the British High Commission in Bridgetown and the United States Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean.

Minister of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley; UN Resident Coordinator for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Michelle Gyles-McDonnough; CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque; and UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Bernt Aasen, are all scheduled to address the opening ceremony.

The conference will bring together ministers with responsibility for child protection, along with experts in child protection, law, policy reform, health and other sectors to identify coordinated responses to the problem. Delegations from Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the British Virgin Islands are expected to attend.

The main objectives are to create a network of participating countries that can share initiatives on ending violence against children and to produce a country-level action agenda.

The anticipated outcome will be a political commitment to the implementation and enforcement of mandatory reporting policies and the resolution of child sexual abuse cases by professionals.

The conference is being convened on the heels of a special CARICOM Council on Human and Social Development meeting, held in Guyana in July 2012, where ministers from throughout the Caribbean subregion expressed grave concern about the alarming prevalence of sexual abuse of children in Member States and in their communiqu? pledged to develop an “integrated approach – combining strong responsive and preventive measures that emphasize child care and protection, and those to end impunity.”

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