In light of reports of the drowning of an 8 year old boy in St. Mary on the weekend, the Office of the Childrenâ€™s Registry (OCR), the body responsible for managing reports of child abuse and the Ananda Alert System, is reminding parents and guardians to ensure that their children are properly supervised and receive adequate attention during the remainder of the summer holiday.
Between 2007 and 2012, the OCR received over 33,000 reports of child abuse, with neglect cases (16,027) being the highest reported. Of the total neglect cases, the majority of these (6,231) resulted from inadequate supervision. Since the start of 2013, over 5000 reports of child abuse have already been received. Also, between the January to June 2013 period, 1,157 children were reported missing, five (5) of whom were found dead and 993 were recovered.
The OCR notes that during the summer period, when school is out, some parents are more likely to leave their children at home unsupervised. This may result in harm or injury to the children and as such should not be practiced.
The OCR is advising parents that under the Child Care & Protection Act they may be charged up to $1 million dollars or face up to five (5) years of imprisonment if they are found guilty of neglect. In addition, persons who fail to report child abuse to the OCR may be charged $500,000 or be imprisoned for six (6) months or both.
Persons who wish to make a report to the OCR may call 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328) or 908-2132 between the hours 7:00am-11:00pm, Mondays to Fridays. The public is also being reminded that reports concerning missing children must be made to the nearest police station or by calling 119 or the OCR at 1-888-PROTECT (776-8328). Reports may also be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.