UK: child safeguarding is a high priority
The protection of children is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of Overseas Territories leaders, Government House revealed yesterday.
Government House said that child safeguarding was a high priority and one that had been “consistent” among British ministers.
It added that the matter was “almost certainly” going to be on the agenda for the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council when it meets in 2020.
Government House said earlier: “Responsibility for child safeguarding is devolved to the elected Government of Bermuda.
“British Overseas Territories have made a series of commitments in this regard at meetings of the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council, including commitment to the highest standards of protection for children, to the development of National Child Safeguarding Action Plans and to a zero-tolerance approach to abuse.
“The Government of Bermuda has, in addition, made a welcome commitment to seek the extension to it of the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse — known as the Lanzarote Convention.
“This is a positive step forward and implementation of measures under the convention will provide further protection for children.
“At the invitation of the Attorney-General, the Governor’s office was pleased to facilitate a visit of UK experts to Bermuda in June 2018, to present at a conference and to meet Bermuda child-protection professionals and representatives from the voluntary sector.
“They gave an overview of the measures needed to be in place under the convention and shared UK expertise on the elements that are necessary for an effective guardian system.”
Government House added: “Since 2016, the UK has been providing support to the British Overseas Territories on a modular basis focused on helping them to strengthen their child protection systems, including through enhanced legislation, strengthened multi-agency working and helping territories to build the capability of frontline staff.
“With regard to practices around the placement of children, some jurisdictions have specially trained and supported foster carers who provide homes to children and young people who are dealing with trauma and other kinds of severe disruption, in order to provide family-based care.
“Support to Bermuda has included ongoing training and mentoring for the Bermuda Police Service and the hosting of an inward visit to the UK for Bermudian child protection professionals to meet UK children’s guardians and members of the judiciary and to observe family court proceedings.
“The UK stands ready to provide further technical advice and expertise in this area of work.”
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