Children have a right to be protected

Dear Editor,

I take this opportunity as an advocate and a responsible citizen to create community awareness on the topic of child abuse and neglect.

The relationship between child abuse and neglect has been vastly understated and under-reported in The Bahamas.

Moreso, the largest proportion of child neglect cases is undocumented. The reality is that we don’t have the luxury of not knowing about the impact of what child neglect does to a child, nor the time it takes to act.

While child neglect issues are not unique to our country, cases are frequently occurring within our communities. They are alarming and a cause for concern.

So, what is child neglect?

According to Wikipedia, “Child neglect is a form of abuse, an act of caregivers (e.g. parents) that results in depriving children of their basic needs such as failure to provide adequate supervision, health care, clothing or housing, as well as other physical, emotional, social, educational, and safety needs.”

Further research shows that child neglect coexists with other forms of maltreatment, abuse and adversities, such as exposing a child to violence between parent or any adult, improper care, immediate harm or danger, ignoring, insulting, threatening to harm the child and showing recklessness in regard to a child’s total well-being.

In addition, studies also show that a child who suffers from neglect oftentimes has attachment disorder, cognitive, emotional and behavioral development issues.

While it is the responsibility of both parent to provide, nurture, love and protect their child and ensure they live in a safe and healthy environment, it takes a village to raise a child.

We have a moral obligation to help provide and positively impact the life of a child, to help the child thrive, grow, and succeed.

I implore you today, search within your soul, ask yourself what you can do to assist in shaping the life of a child, or ways you can support a single parent or cause.

Let us be the change we want to see.

To find out more about how you can volunteer or donate to our organization, email: cocabahamas@gmail.com.

Shervonne Hollis

co-founder, president, Save Our Children Alliance; vice president, Coalition of Child Advocates

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