Government of Jamaica

This document contains answers to frequently asked questions on the Children’s Registry.  The list is by no means exhaustive, as such, if your question is not listed, make a submission to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) so we can have it included.

 

Reports may also be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or sent via the Child Abuse Reporting System (CARS) Blackberry Application which may be downloaded for free from Blackberry App World.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are government agencies required to make reports to the Registry?

Yes. All persons – including employees of the government – are required to make a report where appropriate. Employees need not inform or get permission from their supervisor or management before making a report.

Can I be penalized for making a report that turns out to be false?

Any person making a report in good faith will be immune from any civil or criminal liability. It is however, an offence to knowingly make a false report.

Can I make a report without giving my name?

Anonymous reports will be accepted, for the sake of protecting the child in question. The anonymous reporter will however find it difficult to prove that he or she has discharged the statutory duty to make a report.

How do I know if a child is in need of care and protection?

Under the CCPA, a child is in need of care and protection if:

a)      The child has no - or inadequate - parental supervision and is falling into bad associations, is out of control or is exposed to ‘moral danger’, for example:

  • The child is destitute;
  • The child is wandering without a home or obvious means of subsistence;
  • The child is begging, or loitering with the intent to beg.

b)      The child is being raised in circumstances that are a serious risk to his/her physical or mental health;

c)      The child is the victim of a crime/offence

d)     The child lives in the same household as a child who is the victim of a crime/offence or an adult who has been convicted of a crime/offence against another child

How do I respond to a child who reports abuse to me?

Children rarely lie about abuse, and find it difficult to tell adults that they are being victimized. Make the child feel comfortable and reassured and keep the issue confidential. Make a report immediately – do not delay to find out whether or not the child’s account is true. A child that has been recently raped should also be taken immediately to the nearest office of the police Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) for a rape kit to be administered.

How is the duty to report different for a prescribed person?

While every adult must make a report based on their actual knowledge or suspicion, prescribed persons will be held responsible if they have enough information before them that should lead them to know or suspect that a reportable incident has occurred.

How will the information collected by the Registry be used?

The most immediate use of information will involve referrals to the other agencies that investigate and intervene in cases of children who are in need of care and protection. The information in the Register will also be used to:

  • Provide statistical information to researchers and policymakers, on the nature and scope of child abuse in Jamaica.
  • Allow the Child Development Agency and other employers to screen persons convicted of committing an offence against a child.

Is the Children’s Registry an Advocacy Group?

The Registry is not an advocacy group. It is also very important to understand that the Registry is not:

1. A national sex offender’s registry – although it does capture information on victims and convicted perpetrators of child-related sexual offences.

2. A regulatory body with responsibility for care and protection of children – this function is carried out by the Child Development Agency (CDA).

3. An intake / investigatory agency – investigations are conducted by the CDA, the Children’s Advocate and the Police, as appropriate.

4. Authorized to remand a child or place a child into the care of a fit person – this function is carried out by the CDA.

Should a report be made by an organisation (e.g. a school or clinic) or an individual (e.g. a teacher or nurse)?

The law requires any person to make a report. To avoid duplication, an organisation may make a single report of an incident that has come to the attention of several of its employees. This must not, however, be done in a way that absolves each individual from their statutory duty to make a report. Each person having knowledge or suspicion of an incident should be able to confirm that a report was made, or if they so choose, to make a separate report of their own.

Should I still make a report to the Registry, even though I have already called the Police?

Yes.  The law appoints the Children’s Registry as the place to which all reports should be made. Failing to make a report to the Registry is an offence.

What are the different ways in which one may report a missing child?

- By visiting the nearest police station or by calling 119

- By calling 1-888-PROTECT (1-888-776-8328), 908-2132 or 822-7031 (LIME), 618-5888 or 878-2882 (DIGICEL)

or 631-8933/631-8908 (FLOW). 

   The Registration Centre is open to receive calls on Mondays to Fridays between 7:00am-11:00pm.

  

- By visiting the:

1. OCR Registration Centres at 12 Carlton Crescent, Kingston 10,

2.  Lot 19 Caledonia Mall, Manchester, 

3.  Lee Sin Tyre Centre, Shop 15-16 Windsor Road, St. Ann’s Bay, St. Ann

4. Shop 10, Hendon Plaza, Savanalamar, Westmoreland

- By faxing your report to 908-2579 or emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What are the penalties for failing to make a report to the Children’s Registry?

The penalty for failing to report is six months imprisonment, a fine of J$500,000.00 or both.  A prescribed person who fails to report can also have his/her professional license suspended.

What assurances do I have that my report will be treated with highest degree of confidentiality?

The law generally prohibits persons receiving a report from disclosing the existence of the report, the name of the child or perpetrator and, most importantly, the identity of the person making the report.

What happens after I make a report?

The Registry will assess the information received and, within 48 hours, refer the information to the Child Development Agency. Where an offence is committed by a person employed by the state, the Office of the Children’s Advocate will also be notified. In emergency situations – where a child is in danger of immediate and serious harm – the local police may also be contacted to provide immediate intervention. These referrals will include the information provided in the report, but will NOT include the identity of the reporter.

What if I make a report and nothing happens?

This may mean that an investigation is ongoing or that there was not enough information to pursue the issue. Any new information (e.g. a repeat of the abuse) should also be reported, as this may assist an investigation and guide case workers in their intervention.  If the Children’s Registry, the Child Development Agency, the Police or any other state body is suspected of failing to carry out its lawful duties towards children, a complaint should be made to the Office of the Children’s Advocate.

What information do I need to give when making a report?

A report should include enough information to help the authorities identify and locate the child in question. A reporter will also be asked to provide details such as the names and addresses of the child and parent; the child’s age; details of the incident and the suspected identity of the perpetrator. Note however that it is not necessary for a reporter to gather these details or confirm information before making a report.

What is a reportable incident?

The CCPA states that a report must be made where it is known or suspected that a child has been, is being or is likely to be:

a)      Abandoned or neglected,

b)      Physically or sexually ill-treated,

c)      In need of care and protection.

What is the Ananda Alert system?

Ananda Alert replaced Red Alert and is the nationwide alert system designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child (under 18 years) in the unfortunate event that he/she cannot be located by a caregiver

What is the Children’s Registry?

The Children’s Registry is a statutory body established under the Child Care and Protection Act as the central place for reporting incidents of children who are known or suspected to be abused, neglected or in need of care and protection. The Registry records, assesses and refers reports to other agencies, which will investigate and intervene.

What is the role of the Ananda Alert Secretariat?

The Ananda Alert Secretariat receives information supplied by persons who are required to make a   report because they suspect that a child has been missing or abducted:

·                     Refers reports of missing children to the Police within 30 minutes or less

·                     Follow up with coordinators of the search and rescue teams in each parish

·                     Maintain a repository comprising reports of missing children

·                     Conduct public education to raise awareness about missing children and reporting procedures

What is the role of the Office of the Children’s Registry?

The OCR receives, records, assesses and refers reports of a child who has been, is being or is likely to be:

§  Trafficked or engaged in child labour

§  Neglected or abandoned

§  Physically, sexually, emotionally ill-treated

§  Reported as missing

Reports are also collected for children who:

§  Are in need of care and protection

§  Exhibit behavioural problems

The reports received by the OCR are investigated by the Child Development Agency, the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse, Trafficking in Persons Unit and/or the Office of the Children’s Advocate.

What should be included in a missing child report?

     A report should include enough information to help the authorities and other search and rescue teams identify and locate the child in question. Vital information to be included is:

i.            Name, age, sex and address of child

ii.            Date and time the child went missing

iii.            Clothes that the child was wearing when last seen

iv.            Location that the child was last seen

v.            Photo of missing child

vi.            Any outstanding identification marks (eg. scars, disabilities etc.)

vii.            Any other information that the reporter has which can assist in the intervention and completion of the report

What type of crime/offence against a child can I report?

Any crime committed or attempted against a child is a reportable incident. Some of the offences specifically mentioned by the CCPA are:

a)      Physical or emotional abuse or ill-treatment,

b)      Sexual offences such as rape, molestation or carnal abuse (having sex with a girl under the age of 16, with or without her consent),

c)      Child labour

d)     Trafficking in or abducting children

e)      Other offences against the person, such as assault or murder,

f)       Failure to report suspected abuse,

g)      Administrative offences (e.g. unauthorized disclosure of reports).

h)      Violation of the terms of licenses of children’s homes and other institutions

What will be done when a child is recovered or found?

i.            Parents/caregivers must notify the Police and the Ananda Alert Secretariat immediately of the child’s return

ii.           Relevant agencies will provide legal, medical, psycho-social or other support to the child and family members/caregivers if necessary

iii.          The public will be updated on the status of the child 

When should one make a report of a missing child?

i.            A case of missing child must be reported immediately for investigation to any rank of the police force without waiting for any time period to elapse and no one making such a report should be sent away. 

ii.            A report should be made when a parent, guardian or caregiver is unable to account for the child after a reasonable time has passed

iii.            If you do not have all of the needed information, any additionalinformation can be submitted at a later time. Time is everything!

Who has access to data stored in the Children’s Register?

Access to report records will be restricted to approved Registry officials. The Access to Information Act may not be used to access details of a report.

 

 

Who is a prescribed person?

 Under Section 6(1) of the CCPA, a prescribed person is anyone who fits into any of the following categories:

a)      A doctor, nurse, dentist or other health or mental health professional,

b)      An administrator of a hospital facility (clinics, health centres, medical complexes, etc),

c)      A school principal, teacher or other teaching professional,

d)     A social worker or other social service professional,

e)      An owner, operator or employee of a day care centre or other child care institution,

f)       A guidance counselor,

g)      Any other person who – based on his occupation or employment - has a duty of care towards a child.

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