BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Residents of St. Kitts and Nevis are encouraged to report any known cases of child abuse whether they be physical, sexual, and emotional abuse or child neglect.

Minister of Social Development, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said that statistics from the Department of Probation and Child Protection Services identified child neglect as the most reported form of child abuse.

In a national address to mark the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse on November 19, Minister of Social Development, the Honourable Eugene Hamilton, said that statistics from the Department of Probation and Child Protection Services identified child neglect as the most reported form of child abuse in 2019. This was followed by physical, sexual, and then emotional abuse.

“We must be wary and vigilant and not trapped by the bystander effect,” said Hon. Hamilton.

The minister cautioned that if someone sees child abuse but does not react, the bystander effect occurs, “By seeing or hearing something but doing nothing, believing or hoping, that someone else will come to the rescue. We are all responsible for protecting every child.”

If they suspect child abuse people are encouraged to contact the nearest police station, the Special Victims Unit, or the Department of Child Protection Services, where confidential reports can be made.

“Help will be provided which can include family intervention, criminal prosecution, medical and counselling help, and if needed, the removal of the child from the household,” said Hamilton.

Hamilton thanked the staff of the department and Ministry of Social Development, members of the Child Welfare Board, law officials, physicians, and other groups working to help victims of child abuse.

The minister called on all residents to wear blue tomorrow, Friday (November 19), in solidarity with the efforts to protect children from all forms of abuse.