Violence Against Children in the Caribbean Region

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Worldwide, there has been increasing concern regarding levels of violence generally and in particular the effects of violence on children, our most vulnerable citizens. Violence not only leads to the obvious signs of physical harm when children are victims, but often to long term psychological consequences, whether the children are direct victims, observers of violence or its aftermath, or have family or friends who are victims. Younger children may show regression to more immature behaviour. Long term effects may include the children themselves demonstrating antisocial behaviour and aggression, and poor school achievement with the resultant reduced employability or earning potential. There have been a number of efforts to understand and address the problem of violence related to children: including studies to determine causes and effects, interventions to reduce different aspects of the problem, and legislation, policy and advocacy towards the protection of children from various forms of violence. In the Caribbean, however, these actions have often been uncoordinated and there has been a lack of interdisciplinary feedback on the usefulness and effectiveness of different approaches. This report is an attempt to look at the issue of violence and children in the Caribbean region in a holistic way across many disciplines, and to try to establish the status of this problem and efforts towards its solution.

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