Public Health Communications Specialist
Ministry of Health/Social Development
Minister for Health and Social Development, Honourable Carvin Malone has said that action must be taken to protect the physical, mental and emotional health of the Territory’s children.
Honourable Malone stated that the Government of the Virgin Islands will do whatever it can to protect the Territory’s children as the it observes Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in April under the theme “Every Child Matters, Every Community Aware.”
“All of our children deserve and need love and respect. It is our job as adults to make sure our children are safe from physical and sexual abuse, that they are not exposed to violence, and expected to handle situations that are beyond their developmental ability,” Minister Malone said.
“How we treat and care for our children today, will determine the type of future, family and society we will have tomorrow.” he added.
Honourable Malone outlined that the community can do several things to prevent child abuse. Volunteer your time and never discipline your child when you are upset,” he said adding, ”Teach children their rights, because when children are taught that they are special and have the right to be safe, they are less likely to think abuse is their fault, and more likely to report an offender,” he said.
The minister further advised the community to know the signs of child abuse and to be on the lookout for unexplained injuries, depression, fear of a certain adult, difficulty trusting others or making friends and sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns.
“Above all it is imperative for the community to report abuse. If you witness a child being harmed or see evidence of abuse, make a report to Social Development Department or the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force,” Honourable Malone said.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to continue a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates development and improves the quality of life in the Virgin Islands.