By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
A “disturbing” video of the parental beating of a Grand Bahama teen is under investigation by police and social workers.
The Tribune has learned that the 13-year-old girl is now in the care of the Department of Social Services after being removed from the home by social workers the day following the posting of the video on Whats App and other social media sites.
The video has caused outrage with criticisms of it as excessive, humiliating and abusive punishment. “It is horrible,” a woman said of the video. “How could someone do that to a child?”
Grand Bahama Police Chief Emrick Seymour said the force has received reports of the beating and video posting.
“We are investigating that matter,” he said. “We are looking into it to determine who posted the video and if there was any breach in the law with respect to abuse.”
Paula Marshall, officer in charge of the Welfare Services Division, has confirmed that the child is in the care of the Minister of Social Services and Deputy Director of Social Services, Lillian Quant-Forbes, said they are following protocols as it relates to matters of alleged abuse.
“We placed her in a safe place and we are working with the family as well,” she said.
“We want to sensitise them about physical, emotional and verbal abuse that this case could fall under.”
If it is determined that the case is one of abuse, the matter would be turned over to the police for investigation.
When the abused child is removed, they undergo treatment and counselling. Family members are also counselled as it relates to appropriate methods of discipline.
Child abuse is a serious concern in Grand Bahama and The Bahamas.
In 2014, there were 201 reported cases in New Providence, 59 of which were physical abuse cases. Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin has said that child protection remains a top priority.
In November, Mrs Griffin said that her ministry was “well on the way” towards establishing a children’s registry that will be responsible for receiving, recording and referring reports of child abuse to the Child Protection Unit and to the police. She said the children’s registry is one of a number of measures the government has undertaken, or will undertake, to ensure the protection of children, while reducing the incidents of child abuse within the country.