The International Women's Resources Network (IWRN) is calling for agencies, families and parents to be more proactive, when it comes to protecting children in this country.
The demand comes in the wake of the death of 8-year old Makeisha Maynard who was beaten to death by her father on Sunday.
The IWRN has expressed disappointment at all the individuals—including family members and agencies—who it says failed the little girl.
According to the organisation, for far too long, children have been used as collateral damage in their parents’ estranged relationships, which has a negative impact on the children’s wellbeing.
In an official statement, IWRN president Adriana Sandrine Rattan, said society continues to operate in reactive mode when fatality strikes.
"Continuing along that paradigm suggests there may be an absence of a holistic national plan to treat with psychosocial issues, or if there is one, there is a need for greater levels of public awareness," Rattan said.
"More importantly, in order for those services to be dispensed effectively, proper mechanisms must be put in place to ensure that first responders are sufficiently sensitised on their roles, so as to avoid further exacerbating situations that come before them," she added.
Rattan said dealing with psychosocial issues requires a proactive and sustained approach, if the country is serious about nurturing and protecting its children.
“As obtains at the IWRN,” she says, “a monitoring and evaluation framework must be developed that allows for tracking the success and/or challenges of victims who are being served."
The organisation is pleading with the State to revisit its approach in properly utilising the services of Social Workers, whose role the IWRN says would be pivotal in the area of proactive visits to rural communities in particular. These officials, the IWRN points out, would be able to identify the social challenges faced by those communities such as poverty, unemployment and child neglect/abuse. The group argues that such proactivity would allow for more timely and appropriate interventions.
The IWRN says its representatives, along with other civil society organisations, would be meeting with the Child Protection Unit (CPU) soon, to further discuss stringent measures geared towards protecting the nation’s children.
Story by RHONDOR DOWLAT-ROSTANT