Family Centre are celebrating World Children’s Day in Bermuda on Wednesday, November 20, 2019. As an advocate for children’s rights, we will focus on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of The Child, specifically #19 Protection from Violence, and #27 Access to Food, Clothing and a Safe Home.

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child is an important agreement by countries who have promised to protect children’s rights. The Convention on the Rights of the Child explains who children are, all their rights, and the responsibilities of governments. All the rights are connected, they are all equally important and they cannot be taken away from children.

Martha Dismont, Family Centre Executive Director said, “November 20th is celebrated around the world as a moment in time to remember our most vulnerable and precious asset, our children. We often forget that we were all children once upon a time. It is one of the few things that we can say with certainty. In light of the recent concerns raised for safeguarding our children, we are compelled, as a children’s advocacy organization, to ask that these two ‘rights of a child’ are upheld and mandated. Recent events within our community highlight the need for adults to be intentional in the care of our children, especially protecting them from violence and other forms of abuse, which is often on the rise during difficult economic periods. In addition, we know that families are often having to decide between buying groceries, providing clothing, or paying an electricity bill. Whether it is protection from domestic violence, or ensuring safety, food or clothing, it is imperative that we seek help as necessary to preserve the healthy development of children.”

World Children’s Day will also kick off Family Centre’s Domestic Abuse Awareness Campaign with Corporate Partner, One Communications Ltd. Family Centre will also collaborate with Centre Against Abuse to assist those who may need help in reporting abuse.

Brian Lonergan, Chief Commercial Officer of One Communications Ltd. said, “1 in 4 families experience domestic abuse in Bermuda, and as a responsible community partner we want to support children and families that are affected.”

Dr. Sandy De Silva, Family Centre Director of Services reports, “Statistics on the prevalence of domestic abuse worldwide reveal that approximately 22% of this form of abuse involves children. This is a serious issue that affects everyone and causes multi-generational damage to families and communities.” According to Dr. De Silva, “living in a home where domestic abuse happens can have a serious impact on a child or young person’s mental and physical wellbeing, as well as their behavior and this can last into adulthood. What’s important is to make sure the abuse stops and that children have a safe and stable environment to grow up in. Our counselling services can support children and young people who have experienced domestic abuse to help them move on and receive the care they need.”

Family Centre’s Domestic Abuse Awareness Campaign will begin November 20 and run through to December 17. The campaign will run on radio, television, in print, and social media platforms. It will be targeting every sector of the community to focus attention on the effects of domestic violence on children. We are grateful to our graphic design sponsor RBK Advertising & Design for bringing this important message on domestic abuse to life. This is an opportunity to engage our community in conversations about this issue, and to show our support for those whose lives have been affected.

We are asking those individuals that need emotional family support to call Family Centre at 232-1116 and those that need to report domestic abuse to contact the Centre Against Abuse 24-hour hotline at 297-8278. As a community we must remember the importance of safeguarding children. Our children of today are the adults of tomorrow and are innocent and defenseless in the shaping of their world. We shape it for them.

Family Centre is pleased to partner with One Communications Ltd. and Centre Against Abuse to raise awareness of what can be done to protect our children during difficult periods. We must start by celebrating them and answering the question:

“If you knew the effects domestic abuse has on children, wouldn’t you do something about it?”