The Kiwanis Club of St. John’s Antigua commemorates April as Child Abuse Prevention Awareness Month. Child abuse and neglect are not foreign concepts in Antigua and Barbuda. In fact, child abuse and neglect is a problem occurring in every community across our twin-island nation. Child abuse and neglect appear in many forms, including, physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Yet, the subject of child abuse and neglect is often a taboo subject.
Child abuse and neglect can be prevented by raising public awareness. According to the Hague (2017), “Child abuse and neglect … are universal health issues that leave a day-to-day legacy of individual suffering. It affects all social layers of our society.” Our hope is to share child abuse and neglect prevention awareness strategies, as well as, sponsor activities and promote prevention in Antigua. The theme is Every Child Safe, Every Community Aware.
Research shows that protective factors are present in healthy families. Promoting these factors is among the most effective ways to reduce the risk of child abuse and neglect. They are:
Nurturing and attachment
Knowledge of parenting and of child and youth development
Concrete supports for parents
Social and emotional competence of children
Petra Williams the current President of the Club reiterates that April is a time to celebrate the important role that communities play in protecting children and strengthening families. She states “everyone’s participation is critical. Focusing on ways to connect with families is the best thing our community can do to strengthen families and prevent child abuse and neglect.”
Members of the Community are encouraged to join the Kiwanis Club of St. John’s Antigua in the various public awareness activities through media outlets, in a number of select schools and for our finale and signature event a Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Walk. This event will be a mini-community walk to raise awareness to be held on Thursday 26th April, 2018 from 4:00pm.
This month and throughout the year the Kiwanis Club of St. John’s Antigua encourages all individuals and organizations to play a role in making Antigua and Barbuda a better place for children and families. By ensuring that parents have the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to care for their children, we can help prevent child abuse and neglect by making meaningful connections with children, youth and families in our communities.