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Stabroek News

Enough is enough - Carnal abuse too rampant, judge says combined effort necessary
published: Saturday | February 16, 2008

Senior Resident Magistrate at the Corporate Area Family Court, Pansy Primo Griffith, says collaboration between different agencies in society was needed to stem the alarmingly high levels of carnal abuse cases in the country.

The RM was speaking yesterday during the Corporate Area Family Court's annual parenting seminar.

"The only thing we can do is (have) sessions like these parenting seminars and counselling (with the) assistance of counsellors, social workers and mediators," she said. "The media can also help by highlighting the positives and not the negatives."

RM Primo Griffiths said that hundreds of cases of carnal abuse and molestation appear before the courts on a yearly basis.

In 2006, The Women's Centre of Jamaica Foundation, with offices islandwide, reported seeing an average of 55 pregnant young girls per year, ages 12-13, during the period 2002-2006.

Ills of poor parenting

The parenting seminar, held at the Family Court at 55A Duke Street, sought to address the ills which arise from poor parenting. The legal age of consent is 16.

Themes presented and discussed included parenting skills, dealing with pre-teens and teens, understanding and coping with issues affecting children with special needs, the importance of nutrition and development, and, starting one's own business to support one's children.

Forging a healthy society

In her advice to the participants, Chief Justice Zaila McCalla, who was the guest speaker at the event, stressed the importance of good parenting in forging a healthy society.

"Our children do not act in isolation or independently, their behaviour as you have learnt, is learnt," she said. "How often do we as parents express disappointment at something that our children do and yet, if we are honest and we examine ourselves, we realise they are modelling our own behaviour?"

Chief Justice McCalla encouraged parents to make use of books on parenting and to seek advice from professionals when unsure. She also urged parents to set limits for their children and to define rules and to enforce them promptly.

RM Primo Griffith also called on fathers, who did not number as many as the mothers, to also support their children.

"I would make a call to absentee fathers to play a role in the lives of their children because fathers should be mentors to their children," she said.

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