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Educators warned of jail time over student sexual abuse

School principals, church leaders, social workers, court officials and even media workers will face the court for failure to report cases of child sexual abuse, under a proposed mandatory reporting protocol expected to go before Cabinet by the end of this year.

When Child Care Board director Joan Crawford made this revelation at the opening of a two-day symposium on student sexual abuse at Hilton Barbados Resort this morning, it created a buzz among the packed room of stakeholders, who included those individuals who would be fined or imprisoned for breaching the protocol.

“There is a duty to report, in spite of the claim of confidentiality or professional privilege . . . . The only exception there is is that lawyer-client privilege; but all others are not considered that way,” she said.

“[The protocol] also states that mandated reporters, which are you [professional caregivers] are required to sign the document . . . . When it comes into effect, all of you are supposed to sign and indicate that you are going to report.”

“There are no ifs or buts. It will be that you . . . are bound to report,” she added.

The list of professionals who would be mandated to report suspected cases of child abuse include: dentists, dental hygienists, hospital personnel, coroners, mental health professional, church leaders, Sunday School teachers, police, social workers, parents and guardians, physicians and their assistants, nurses, child caregivers and probation officers.

Substance abuse counsellors, school administrators, guidance counsellors, the media, court officials, psychiatrists, psychologists, camp counsellors, constituency councils, lawyers and prosecutors will also be mandated to report under the proposed measure.

Crawford told school principals at today’s symposium that the possibility of being jailed for failure to report child sexual abuse cases were among matters she wanted them to seriously consider and provide feedback.

The child care administrator also addressed the issue of immunity for those who report.

Crawford said there would be protection for those who were looking out for the best interest of children in reporting their abuse.

“When you talk about reporting, the issue of immunity comes up. Mandated reporters are to be immune, both civilly and criminally, provided the report is made in good faith. Nobody is going to charge you or anything like that, if you believe and report it in good faith,” she gave the assurance.

“However,” Crawford added, “failure to report a suspected case should carry a sanction in the form of a fine, with the alternative of imprisonment. You see, these are things that I want you to consider when we are looking at reporting under the mandatory protocol. How does it impact the Ministry of Education and its agents?”

The Child Care Board director also told the ministry she wanted its officials to give their position on the 63-page draft document containing the provisions of the protocol before it went to Cabinet.


19 Responses to PRINCIPALS, BEWARE

  1. Bobby Brown
    Bobby Brown June 19, 2014 at 11:55 pm

    I would like pricipals too get lock up when they got a teacher that throw a piece of chalk at a student and tell the student that should of lick out your eye and dont do that teacher nothing and dont even report her behaviour…..

  2. Jane Brathwaite
    Jane Brathwaite June 20, 2014 at 12:10 am

    How about teachers abusing children ,beating them bad bad leaving marks its time for a chnge

  3. Princess Tiny Neferua
    Princess Tiny Neferua June 20, 2014 at 12:17 am

    @ Jane Brathwaite…I totally agree..maybe you can put the teacher in court for child abuse too…

  4. Poetry Dancer
    Poetry Dancer June 20, 2014 at 12:24 am

    stop sweeping it under the rug…

  5. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce June 20, 2014 at 3:12 am

    Any form of ABUSE should be reported. Children suffer in silence and I am talking about the same children who grow up as adults carry on the cycle like a virus. The sad thing about it, all the laws that are put in place to protect the vulnerable are too easily over looked by the some of the professionals and those in trust ‘that’s not my problem attitude” and slap dash conculsion.

  6. Kay Critchlow
    Kay Critchlow June 20, 2014 at 5:24 am

    Shame on any adult that sees child abuse and turns their head, they are the real people with cold hearts.

  7. Kay Critchlow
    Kay Critchlow June 20, 2014 at 5:31 am

    Child abusers , if physically or mentally are total scum. Children are born innocent, we all should protect them. I cannot get my head around the sick minds of adults that want to sexually abuse such a pure beautiful thing as a child. EVIL to the core.

  8. Kay Critchlow
    Kay Critchlow June 20, 2014 at 5:35 am

    As for corporal punishment, if it’s administered correctly I’m still with that but not a beating you understand but a slap on the hands to correct insolence is not such a bad thing. As for the chalk throwing etc that is wrong, that show a teacher that can’t hold their aggression ! They need taking to task …

  9. Cherylann Bourne-Hayes
    Cherylann Bourne-Hayes June 20, 2014 at 6:13 am

    That’s how it is here in the U.S. I am a teacher and I am obligated to report any suspected case. We are also trained and go through it every year.

  10. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte June 20, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Here we go again …………. the debate to making it more complex has started.

  11. George Greaves
    George Greaves June 20, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Great direction.

  12. Donna Burnett
    Donna Burnett June 20, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I agree 100% call out the imbiciles

  13. Golden Nugget
    Golden Nugget June 20, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Does this include dear dominus? Cause I read a rather disturbing letter about a school girl and a conductor and the van driver…..

  14. Kay Critchlow
    Kay Critchlow June 20, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Put the letter on here !

  15. Bobby Brown
    Bobby Brown June 20, 2014 at 10:03 am

    Roland edwards

  16. Angel OfThunder
    Angel OfThunder June 20, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Lard these the matters responsible for alot of evils in our country,its long overdue that people stop letting this evil live among us

  17. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner June 20, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Damm why has this not happen years ago,but never too late.

  18. Cuthbert Lucas
    Cuthbert Lucas June 20, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    if they do not want to hang those who kill, this lAW, though well intended, will come to nought


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