CHILD abuse is on the rise in the Bahamas, with more than 1,300 cases reported between 2011 and 2012, says Minister of Social Services Melanie Griffin.
While these numbers are high, Mrs Griffin said many more cases go unreported.
“We must do something about that because as long as there is one child being abused, our work is not done,” she said.
Minister Griffin spoke out at a one-day child abuse education and awareness campaign in Rawson Square this week.
Officials from the ministries of Social Services, National Security, Tourism and Health joined forces to bring attention to the issue.
Minister Griffin said it was critical that the message detailing the importance of reducing the incidences of child abuse in the Bahamas begin at the highest levels.
“It is extremely important that the message starts at the top in terms of the leadership of the country,” Mrs Griffin said.
“When I was in this position first in 2002, and I had a chance to discuss with the Prime Minister what we were doing with regards to our child protection efforts and some of the incidences that were going on he advised me to do what I had to do and allow the chips to fall where they may. That showed me how intent he was on protecting our children. We must do something because as long as there is one child being abused, our work is not done.”
Minister Griffin said her ministry will continue to work with the National Child Protection Council, the church and all other government and non-governmental agencies and organisations, communities and community associations, in an effort to “take the message of child protection to all parts of the Bahamas.”