A lack of knowledge of what constitutes child sexual abuse has been listed among the significant barriers to the prevention of sexual abuse in communities within Regions Two and Seven.

This is according to information gathered by Blossom Inc. from community leaders, residents, health workers, teachers, and other stakeholders.

Other child sexual abuse influencing factors Blossom Inc., a children’s based charitable organisation, was able to uncover are domestic violence, unemployment, power imbalance, sexual grooming, alcohol and drug abuse, and dependency.

Moreover, with the support of the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Blossom Inc. has implemented a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Programme (CSAPP). Through this programme, Blossom Inc. intends to target areas such the Indigenous communities of Bethany, Mashabo, Capoey and Wakapoa in Region Two and Karrau in Region Seven. All the communities are affected by school dropouts and, specifically in Wakapoa, Mashabo and Bethany, teenage pregnancy is prevalent, Blossom Inc., has found.

A goal of the venture is to improve access to child protection services for residents in these remote locations.

Additionally, Blossom Inc. will provide education on effective child sexual abuse prevention and response as this issue is prevalent and many cases fall below the radar.

The initial stage of the project involved the community assessment to find out the factors that hinder effective child sexual abuse prevention and response.

Blossom Inc., moreover, plans to take a strategic, evidence-based approach to address the issue using the feedback received from the target communities. This includes conducting outreach sessions to raise awareness about the Sexual Offences Act, the Protection of Children Act and educating community leaders, residents and other stakeholders on child sexual abuse and correct reporting practices.

To achieve its goals, Blossom Inc. will collaborate with partners from the Ministries of Social Protection, Education and Public Health and the Guyana Police Force to address specific needs in the communities.

The organisation will also engage and support key individuals in the communities to establish a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Group to monitor this issue and ensure that all actual and suspected cases of child sexual abuse are reported to the relevant agencies. The project is expected to continue until February 2020.


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