April 2023 marks 20 years since the first observation of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month in the Virgin Islands.
And, according to Minister for Health and Social Development Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8), the Government of the Virgin Islands remains committed to working towards creating a Territory where children are free from discrimination, violence, and injustice.
The Minister for Health and Social Development said the Government of the Virgin Islands strives to protect the Territory’s children because today’s children will become tomorrow’s leaders. He acknowledged how children are treated today will determine the type of future, family and society the Virgin Islands will have tomorrow.
All children ‘deserve & need love & respect’- Hon Penn
Honourable Penn, according to a Government Information Services (GIS) press release on April 3, 2023, said, “All of our children deserve and need love and respect. It is our job as adults to make sure our children are safe from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, that they are not exposed to violence, and expected to handle situations that are beyond their developmental ability or are emotionally traumatised”.
In relation to this year’s theme, “20 Years of Prevention, Protection and Awareness”, Honourable Penn said that since the first year of observing Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, a lot has changed in the Territory. However, the Minister noted that the work must continue with all stakeholders to curate a space in the Virgin Islands
where children feel one hundred percent safe.
Minister Penn added, “As the Minister responsible for Social Development, I am committed to working towards creating a Virgin Islands where there is zero tolerance for child abuse, and everywhere is a safe space for its children. The Virgin Islands
must be a place where children are afforded the opportunity to thrive and be children,” he said.
Minister for Health and Social
Development Honourable Marlon A. Penn (R8) said the Government of the
Virgin Islands remains committed to working towards creating a Territory
where children are free from discrimination, violence, and injustice.
The Social Development Department also has several activities slated for this month’s observation, chief among them is the ‘Decorate a Gate/Fence’ competition and the Run/Walk Event. For more information on these events, persons can contact the Social Development Department at 469-3636 or 468-3650.
The Ministry of Health and Social Development said it aspires to continue a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates the development and improves the quality of life in the Virgin Islands