A grim report has revealed that Jamaican children face substantial risks including violence, sexual abuse and death.
The report, launched this morning by the UNICEF Jamaica office, entitled ‘A Familiar Face: Violence in the Lives of Children and Adolescents’, urged the country’s authorities to take strong action to improve the safety, well-being and security of its children.
UNICEF’s Jamaica representative, Mark Connolly, said the global organization was alarmed by the number of Jamaican children who die violently and who are regularly subjected to sexual violence and violent discipline in their homes, schools and communities.
Damning figures in the report show that 47 children were murdered across the island up to October 21. Of that number, there were 29 boys and 18 girls.
That figure has already surpassed last year’s. 41 children were killed in 2016 and 33 last year.
“Jamaica is among the 10 countries with the highest mortality rates from homicide and from collective violence among girls aged 10 to 19 years in 2015,” the report said.
Equally worrying are findings that the overwhelming majority of children between the ages of two and 14 have been subjected to violence as a form of discipline.
The report says eight in ten Jamaican children in the mentioned age group experience violence as a form of discipline.
UNICEF underscored that there must be a renewed effort to convince Jamaicans that all children have the right to be protected from violence inflicted on them.