Registrar’s Message 2015
The year 2015 when the Office of the Children’s Registry is celebrating its eigth (8th) Anniversary will present several challenges and opportunities for the agency. The realities of child abuse and missing children are constant reminders of the collaborative approach that must be taken to effectively tackle the negative issues that affect our children. The care and protection of the children of Jamaica is everybody’s business and must be treated as such. It is my encouragement to all Jamaicans who know or suspect that a child may be missing or abused to REPORT IT NOW by calling the OCR at 1-888-PROTECT. Break the silence! Send a signal to predators that you have had enough and you are willing to do something about it by speaking out and allowing the law to take effect.
Our children are precious, dependent and creative therefore they must be guided appropriately as we aim to secure a bright future for our country. As the head of one of the country’s child protection agencies, the OCR, my commitment to the people of Jamaica is that the OCR team will continue to efficiently and effectively play its role as the government agency responsible for receiving, recording, assessing and referring for investigation and action all reported cases of abused or missing children; but the truth is we cannot do so without the cooperation and assistance of well thinking members of the society.
We have made significant strides since the agency began operations on January 1, 2007, raising the levels of awareness of persons about who we are and what we do and expanding our operations to three additional parishes. We collected four hundred and fifty-five (455) reports of child abuse in that 2007, moving to collecting eleven thousand eighteen (11 018) such reports in 2013. The increase in reported cases suggests that more persons are becoming aware of the OCR and its role. However, evidence from a nationally representative survey commissioned by the Office of the Children’s Registry, OCR, with support from the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, published in 2013, tells us that only one in every ten Jamaicans who know about a case of child abuse actually make a report. That is something we want to change over time through a comprehensive and sustained communication campaign, using new and traditional media platforms.
Since March 1, 2013 when the OCR received responsibility for the operations of the Ananda Alert, which is the nationwide system used to ensure the safe and speedy recovery of missing children, the agency can report an encouraging trend as we work to minimize, with the hope of eliminating the number of Jamaican children who go missing. This as preliminary statistics reported to us by the Missing Person Monitoring Unit (MPMU) of the Jamaica Constabulary (JCF) indicate that there has been a ten percent (10%) decline in the number of children reported missing for the period January to December 2014 when compared to the corresponding period in 2013. During the period January to December 2014, one thousand, nine hundred and eighty four (1984) children were reported missing while a total of two thousand two hundred and five (2205) children were reported missing in 2013.
We still have a long way to go in achieving our vision where “[t]he Office of the Children’s Registry will be among the premier organizations worldwide performing in Jamaica, a valuable, proactive role as part of a team that is creating workable solutions to prevent, reduce and/or eliminate the incidence of child abuse and missing children. In so doing, we strive to be trusted and respected by the children and adult populations of Jamaica as a sensitive, professional, confidential and effective organization that is providing world class service in the creation of a safe and secure environment for children to grow and reach their full potential. Building on our success in Jamaica, we will act as a catalyst for the establishment of other Children’s Registries in the Caribbean.” We can do it though strong caring partnerships involving the private and public sector as well as non-government and community based organizations. We all have a role we must play and I encourage all citizens to find your niche in the care and protection of children and act decisively and stridently in fulfilling same.
A message from Mr. Greig Smith,
Registrar, Office of the Children’s Registry, OCR.