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Sunday, April 20, 2014
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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T&T told: Look after children
The Association of Female Executives of T&T (AFETT), the Powerful Ladies of T&T (PLOTT), the Network of NGOs for the Advancement of Women, Women’s Institute for Alternative Development (WINAD), Hindu Women’s Organisation and Advocates for Safe Parenthood: Improving Reproductive Equity (ASPIRE) have collaborated in a call for society to be responsible for children. In an interview yesterday, Gillian Hall, chair of PLOTT, said the groups intended to work with each other to assist in matters concerning children.
She said: We have united to better leverage our strengths. We find that too many people are doing the same things over and over. “We will facilitate more cohesive teams and share visions and dialogue as we lobby for change.” Hall said with the combined resources, expertise, decades of sweat and labour from the women in the group, it would not be “beginning from scratch.”
Two representatives from the group — Hazel Brown and Brenda Gopeesingh — are members of the Child Protection Task Force set up by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar. In a release yesterday the organisation called for the violation of women and children to stop. It said protection and care of children were multi-faceted issues requiring the involvement of all stakeholders. It added: “The situation of child abuse is grave but not impossible as we acknowledge the many entities already working to effect positive change.
“Unless we address our varied levels of helplessness, ignorance, indifference or apathy, our nation's children will continue to pay the price.” The group listed a course of action for all citizens, which included public awareness and education in the public sphere, communities and schools.
Some of the group’s plan
• Building public and community capacity to respond to violence through the implementation of public awareness and education initiatives on child rights and human rights and on other pertinent issues, such as sexual exploitation, human trafficking, violence against women and child prostitution.
• Ensuring health and family life education programmes are taught within our schools.
• Implementation of national parenting programmes action.
• Be our children’s/neighbour’s keeper; become an advocate for and protector of our children.
• Adopt a zero tolerance approach to domestic violence and violence against children, women and girls.
• Take ownership of both the issues and the solutions/opportunities.
• Take action on a timely basis.
• Expand the social safety net so that women do not feel that they have to remain for economic reasons with men who abuse them.
• Increase the number of trained personnel at all levels of the social service arena.
• Provide for mandatory placement of guidance counsellors in all schools.
• Provide counselling and treatment for victims and perpetrators of violence.
• Increase collaboration among stakeholders.
• Encourage and support family life and the care and protection of children.
• Review paternal leave provisions.
• Encourage employers to provide affordable and quality childcare solutions and the Government to support such initiatives
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