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Child advocates join forces to prevent sexual abuse

The welfare of children and their protection from abuse are to be spotlighted by two major charities throughout April.

The campaign brings together the child sexual abuse charity Scars with the Family Centre, and includes a televised discussion on April 10.

Debi Ray-Rivers, executive director of Scars, said the children’s advocates wanted to send “a clear message that being a child should be reason enough to justify that our children deserve, and should receive, unconditional protection, love, care and nurture”.

“Our children need to be happy and healthy for them to thrive,” Ms Ray-Rivers said. “It is very important that their need for emotional and physical nurture and protection are met so that our children can reach their full potential.”

The group has joined forces with Family Centre, which offers therapeutic services and programmes at no cost to children, teens and their families.

Sandy De Silva, the executive director, said: “Family Centre is a strong advocate for the protection of children alongside organisations like Scars.

“When Scars approached us about this campaign, our Family Centre team was fully committed to the messaging about children’s rights to be protected and cared for simply because they are children.”

Dr De Silva added: “Family Centre’s mission is to facilitate healing, hope and connection to strengthen families and create a healthier Bermuda for our children, where their emotional and social wellbeing is a priority.

“Family Centre is committed to ensuring access to mental health support and enrichment community programmes for children and teens without barriers, so that the most vulnerable among us are treated fairly and can receive quality mental healthcare regardless of their family’s ability to pay.”

Scars focuses on awareness, education and prevention of child sexual abuse.

Ms Ray-Rivers said that the April campaign was threefold, beginning with raising awareness on protecting children “using their own voices”.

Children’s needs are particular to the age groups in which their messages are recorded, she said.

“Secondly, we want to provide resources to help parents and guardians who want to learn more about how they can better understand, nurture, protect or simply support their children,” she said.

“As parents and guardians, we want to ensure their emotional and physical wellbeing.”

The televised discussion, hosted by the broadcaster Sherri Simmons, will premiere on April 10 on Channel 82 and air throughout the rest of the month.

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Published April 04, 2023 at 7:46 am (Updated April 04, 2023 at 7:46 am)

Child advocates join forces to prevent sexual abuse

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