Call for Family Court to speed up hearings
A FAMILY COURT to address legal issues related to children and women would speed up the process of hearings, UNICEF Children’s Champion Faith Marshall-Harris said yesterday.
“In that court, we would attempt to deal with anything that has to do with children, and we would [also] ensure that . . . child abuse cases are dealt with expeditiously,” she told the media at the launch of Child Abuse And Neglect Prevention Month, an initiative spearheaded by the Kiwanis Club of Bridgetown, at her chambers in Belleville, St Michael.
The attorney at law and legal consultant said she believed the long period between the abuse and court appearance disadvantaged the victims.
Marshall-Harris said such an institution should also include social workers and counsellors able to deal with abused children.
This recommendation was one of 125 forming part of a Green Paper prepared last year, she explained. The document reviewed all laws pertaining to children in Barbados and proposed a number of legislative changes.
She said it was being considered by various stakeholders.
“As you can imagine with 125 recommendations it would touch on a wide range of agencies and personalities, so the Ministry [of Social Care] are awaiting their input as well.”
However, she said that legislation “could only go so far”, adding that public education and social change played a pivotal role.
“The legislation was supposed to be a last resort. [We need to] do more prevention, and that can only happen when we get more people in the community to talk about [child abuse].”
Lieutenant governor of Kiwanis International, Dr Delores Lewis, said the month of activities would begin Saturday at 10 a.m. with events in Heroes Square and Jubilee Gardens.
The drive will continue later in the month with a motorcade in association with the Silver Dollar Campaign, starting in Bridgetown. An early morning awareness walk culminates activities on April 26, starting at Accra Beach and ending at Enterprise Beach in Christ Church. (LW)