Sunday 29 November, 2020

'Appalled!' Ministry speaks on photos of woman with young boy

Whether the photos circulating on social media were taken in Barbados or not, is not the issue, the bigger concern in the eyes of the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs is that the young boy is not being protected.

In a press release issued today after photographs from what appears to be a photoshoot featuring a mature woman and young boy who looks to be between seven and ten years old started going around on WhatsApp, the Ministry stated it "is absolutely appalled at a series of inappropriate photographs of a mature female and minor male in suggestive poses currently being circulated on social media.

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"In fact, we would be horrified if these images originated in Barbados. Even if they did not originate in Barbados, that they are being circulated is deeply concerning. The photographs are disturbing and indicate a sharp deviation from the standards of morality that we have set for our society. They certainly do not reflect the values, as a nation, we are known to uphold and further underscores the need for heightened child protection in Barbados."

Keeping concern for the young boy at the centre of the issue, the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, which is the Ministry with primary responsibility for the social wellbeing of our children, "fully recognises that children have the right to a protective environment. They should be allowed to happily grow, learn and reach their fullest potential in an environment that is free of violence, abuse or exploitation.

"It has therefore embarked on a Child Protection Reform project in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)."

Barbados is not standing idly by and waiting for the likes of such to creep into the society's fabric, the Ministry under the aegis of MP Cynthia Forde said this Project with UNICEF will help shape policy and legislation.

"This Project is reviewing the existing child protection laws and systems with the view of crafting an enhanced framework that would ensure the safety and protection of our children in all settings."

These photos come weeks after a father made an appeal for more to be done to protect the island's children especially the vulnerable children with disabilities.

The press release said that the hope is to have new laws formulated by early in 2021.

"The Ministry continues to engage the Barbadian public on the issues surrounding child protection to inform revision of the existing framework and expects to have a new child protection legislation by early in the new year. The new Child Protection legislation will complement the new Child Justice Bill which has already been drafted to guide the treatment of children who come into contact with the law."

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