Jamaica

Jamaica was one of the first countries to become a pathfinder in 2016. Both non-governmental organizations and the government have joined forces to end violence against children, and by 2023, have committed to increasing services for violence-affected children by 20 percent.

2004

The Child Care and Protection Act is passed. This act aims to promote the best interests, safety and well-being of children across the country, outlining the circumstances under which a child may be removed from their family in cases of abuse, neglect and exploitation. It also bars children from employment before age 15 and states that no child under the age of 12 can be convicted of a crime.

2006

The Victim’s Charter is passed, which aims to support victims of crime throughout the criminal justice process.

2007

The Children’s Home Regulations is passed, which sets standards for children's homes to ensure safety.

2017

In November, Prime Minister Andrew Holness states his commitment to prohibiting corporal punishment in schools and to commencing discussions in Parliament on prohibition in all settings, including the home.

2018

In June, the government finalizes a draft 5-year National Plan of Action for an Integrated Response to Children and Violence 2018 – 2023, but does not launch the plan. In December, the Minister of Education, Youth and Information pledges to work with the Office of the Children’s Advocate to build awareness about alternative approaches to corporal punishment. The Office of the Children’s Advocate partnered with ISPCAN to host the ISPCAN Regional Caribbean Conference.

In November 2016, close to 100 stakeholders from six ministries, key government agencies, the United Nations, the private sector, academia, civil society, and youth themselves met at the Office of the Prime Minister for a high-level launch of the Jamaican initiative.

A wide range of stakeholders and partners, including government ministries, departments, and agencies; civil society organizations; and international development organizations, revised the national action plan. Special consultation sessions were held with media and communications specialists for the development of a public education strategy. Consultations with children are ongoing, and are spearheaded by the Child Protection and Family Services Agency.

A two-day meeting of the Anti-Bullying Technical Working Group took place in February 2019 to strengthen national efforts to tackle bullying.

Jamaica undertook a multiple indicator cluster survey in 2005 and 2011, which assessed child discipline practices.

In 2018, Jamaica launched the results from the first national survey on gender-based violence. This used the World Health Organization's CARICOM model, a region-specific adaptation of a global model on gender-based violence prevalence.

In 2015, the results of the anti-bullying study, Investigating the Prevalence and Impact of Peer Abuse on the Development of Jamaica’s Children, were released.

The Child Protection and Family Services Agency manages the Office of the Children’s Registry and a child protection database which has more than 80 indicators. The Office of the Children's Registry collects and analyzes disaggregated data on children affected by or at risk of violence, both by topic and geographical area.

The national action plan calls for the development of a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation system using OCR, Police and JAMSTATS data. Child protection statistics are currently accessible through JAMSTATS.

The 2018-2023 action plan and an associated roadmap articulates the government’s plan to implement the INSPIRE framework. The plan calls for a reduction in the number of reported cases of violence against children by 15 percent, a 20 percent increase in the provision of services for children who are victims of violence, a promulgation of laws protecting children, and an investment into public awareness campaign to change social norms. 

The Child Care and Protection Act is currently before a Joint Select Committee of Parliament (alongside the Sexual Offences Act, the Offences Against Persons Act, and the Domestic Violence Act) to strengthen the legislative framework to better protect children and other vulnerable members of society.

Several Jamaican NGOs and civil society organizations are involved in violence prevention and response. The Violence Prevention Alliance Jamaica has coordinated with partners of the technical working group and the government of Jamaica. A social media plan was developed highlighting the Violence Prevention Alliance Jamaica's work in violence prevention, and the group has had a regular presence on print media, online media, radio, and television discussing violence against children in Jamaica and violence prevention activities. The Violence Prevention Alliance Jamaica has also provided technical support to the development of the Final Draft of the National Plan of Action for Integrated Response to Children and Violence.

In 2019, End Violence and our partners are working to:

GROW DEMAND

  • By supporting the government to launch the National Action Plan at a high-level event, possibly in coordination with other child-related events in May for Child Month with the Office of the Children’s Advocate.
  • By encouraging law reform that prohibits corporal punishment in the home, within daycares and at school.

MOBILISE RESOURCES

  • By budgeting for the National Action Plan to ensure that once launched, the plan is fully budgeted, gaps in funding are addressed, and that the planned annual increase of five percent occurs.
     
  • By considering opportunities for collaboration with the Spotlight Fund and the European Union, combining funding for violence against children with funding for violence against women.
     
  • By reach out to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organisation of 15 nations, for resource mobilization opportunities around violence against children.
     
  • By appealing to the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions to include Social Indicators (particularly for children) in their loan agreements.

EQUIP PRACTITIONERS 

  • By organising a policy dialogue with the Ministry of Education on a Handbook to Prevent School-based Violence with UNICEF, UNESCO and WHO.
     
  • By supporting the Violence Prevention Alliance, Jamaica's multi-sectoral coordination platform, as a public safety institute to fast-track the roll-out of INSPIRE strategies, not only in Jamaica but across the Caribbean.
     
  • By undertaking a national survey to establish baselines for monitoring the Jamaica National Action Plan to End Violence Against Children.
     
  • By training front-line healthcare providers in the identification of and response to children who have suffered physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse and neglect.