National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse
The Crisis Centre
- If you witness a child abduction, contact your local Police Station or call 919 immediately!
- Provide information on the location of the abduction and a description of the victim, the suspect and/or any vehicle involved.
- Watch for the child, suspect and vehicle described in the alert.
- Immediately report any sightings by calling 919 or the telephone number included with the alert. (Do not call 919 to request information about the abduction.)
- Notify all local media assignment desks: The sooner television and radio begin notifying the community that a child has been kidnapped, the better the chances of recovery.
- Keep your home phone attended by someone your child knows: Install Caller ID if you do not already have that service and record conversations. This may be the only way your child knows how to reach you.
- Take care to preserve your physical and emotional welfare: Friends, neighbors and even total strangers will be working toward a successful resolution, but you must remember to eat and sleep regularly. This will be the most daunting and difficult journey that you will ever take and you will need sobriety, presence of mind and good judgment if it is to be successful. Seek emotional and psychological support from your church, a social service agency or even a professional counselor with experience in your type of situation. Remember that you alone are leading the battle for the return of your missing child.
- Remember – Never Give Up Hope! As long as you believe, hope remains eternal.
What parents can do?
Teach your child these safety tips:
- Never get into anyone’s car without your parents’ permission.
- Move away from a car that pulls up beside you if you don’t know the driver.
- Say, “No, thank you,” if a stranger or someone else offers you candy or gifts.
- Never answer the door if you are home alone.
- Don’t play in deserted buildings.
Emergency Contact Numbers
Royal Bahamas Police Force Emergency Hotline: 919
The Crisis Centre: 328-0922
- A statement to be issued by the Crisis Centre in light of the recent severe incidents of domestic violence
- Plans for celebrating the 30th Anniversary of the Crisis Centre with a Regional Conference. Donna Nicolls will spearhead the event
- A newspaper supplement as part of the activities for Crisis Centre Month in November
- Organizing teens who are doing well to talk to other teens during the summer holidays. It was suggested that a school in each area, North, South, East and West, of New Providence could be utilized to hold the meetings
- The Tea Party is still planned but no date has been decided as yet
- The Crisis Centre Domestic Violence Campaign will be launched in May, when photos depicting domestic violence will be distributed at strategic points all over the island, as well as PSA’s being aired
- In May, a workshop is to be held on the topic ‘Little Ears, Little Eyes”
A moving presentation was given by a victim of domestic violence, demonstrating how devastating such relationships can be.
- Never leave your child alone, even in a car
- Listen to your child when he/ she says he/she does not want to be with someone
- Get to know your child’s friends and activities
- Be cautious if someone is showing an excessive amount of interest in your child
- Be aware of changes in your child’s behaviour
- Be sure that your child’s school or nursery does not allow anyone other than yourself or someone you have identified to collect your child from school
- Talk to your child about who to talk to or who to call if lost or separated from parent or guardian when away from home
- ALWAYS listen to your child when he/she wants to talk to you about something and ALWAYS believe what your child is telling you
Words your child needs to hear
- I’m so lucky to have you
- You’re a great helper
- I like it when you try hard
- Let’s talk about it
- I’m sorry
- You’re very special to me
- Thank you for your help
- I love you
- You’re great!
Being a parent is not easy. If you are experiencing any of the following feelings, please seek help for yourself:
- You feel lonely and isolated with no-one to turn to
- You feel nervous and unable to cope
- You feel you are not a good parent
- You are depressed
- Your problems seem overwhelming
- You’re afraid of what you might do to your child
- You sometimes hurt your child
- You are experiencing sexual feelings toward your child
Protecting your child
If you have babies or young children, do NOT leave the following lying around, in unlocked cupboards, or within reach:
- household cleaners (detergent, disinfectant, oven-cleaners, dishwashing liquid etc.)
- permanent cream (for hair)
- furniture spray
- bug spray
- weed killer
- any other substance which is not intended for consumption
NEVER put harmful substances in drink or milk bottles or cans.
Remember that products such as apple juice and pine cleaners, candies and tablets, medicines and lamp oil look alike and children can mistake a poisonous substance for a safe one.
If your child swallows any dangerous substance:
- Take the child to the hospital immediately
- Do not induce vomiting
- Do not give the child anything to eat or drink
- Keep nose and mouth clean/clear
- Keep air passages clear
Shaken Baby Syndrome
Never shake your baby. Shaking a baby can cause blindness, brain damage, hearing loss, spinal cord injury, seizures, cerebral palsy, learning disabilities and even death. The number one reason why a baby is shaken is because it won’t stop crying. Even tossing a baby into the air or bouncing it on the knee can cause damage. Babies’ necks are too weak to support their heavy heads. When they are shaken, the head flops back and forth, causing serious damage.
A young baby’s neck should always be supported.
If your baby will not stop crying, count to ten and calm down. If you have done everything you can to make the baby comfortable, i.e. fed the baby, changed the diaper, burped the baby, allow the baby to cry awhile. Go to another part of the house and check on the baby every 10-15 minutes. Call a family member or friend for emotional support. Take the baby to the hospital or call the baby’s doctor in case something is medically wrong.
Sexual abuse is the involvement of a child in any sexual practices with an adult or older child. It includes fondling of private parts, making suggestions of a sexual nature, penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) It also includes exposure to indecent pictures, film, literature or behaviour.
Signs of sexual abuse:
Precocious sexual behaviour
Unexplained bleeding or discharge from genital or anal areas
Stress related disorders
Infections in the mouth or throat
Sexually transmitted diseases
Loss of appetite
Unexplained vomiting or gagging
Low self esteem
Problems at school
A child who is being sexually abused may become withdrawn, depressed, sometimes suicidal, self-destructive, obsessed with private parts and fearful.
A child who reports that he/she is being abused should be:
believed…children rarely make up stories of abuse
reassured that he/she is not at fault
given a promise that he/she will be protected from further abuse
taken to the doctor
When someone is sexually abused by a family member, it is called “incest”. This form of sexual abuse is particularly traumatic because it breaks the trust a child has placed in someone who is normally caring and nurturing.
Sometimes parents, and especially mothers, do not want to believe that their child has been molested, particularly when it is someone, sometimes the breadwinner, who lives in the same house or nearby.
NEVER blame your child. Sexual abuse is never the child’s fault. PLEASE believe your child. Not only is it against the law to keep such information to yourself, but you may be sacrificing your child’s physical and emotional health if you do not seek help.
If you suspect or know of a child who is being abused, it is imperative that you make a report to your local Crisis Centre, Social Services Department or the Police.
In the Bahamas, call the Crisis Centre at 328-0922 or the Child Protective Services on 326-0451 or the Child Abuse Hotline on 322-2763
Emotional abuse is the repeated rejection and humiliation of a child, constant negative communication, withholding love and affection and the ultimate destruction of the child’s self-esteem.
Signs of emotional abuse:
- Physical problems resulting from stress
- Poor performance at school
- Low self-esteem
- Excessively passive or aggressive
- Sleep problems
- Slow development
Neglect is the failure, intentional or unintentional, of a parent or guardian to provide food, shelter, clothing, health care and education for a child.
Signs of neglect:
- Unkempt appearance
- Lack of medical or dental care
- Developmental lags
- Begs for food
- Shows lack of interest
- Appears dull, tired and listless
- Constant fatigue
Physical abuse of children
Physical abuse is the intentional physical injury or pattern of injuries caused by a parent, guardian or caregiver.
Signs of physical abuse:
- Unexplained bruises or welts
- Unexplained lumps and bumps
- Cigarette burns
- Dental or oral injuries
- Fractures to limbs
- Head injuries
A child who is being physically abused may:
- Be afraid and timid
- Scared to go home
- Resist physical contact
- Be violent towards others
- Be too eager to please
- Be depressed
- Have low self-esteem
- Be absent from school regularly
Parents and caregivers are being asked to find more appropriate ways to discipline their children. Taking away privileges or giving time out is more effective than beating or flogging and is safer for the child’s emotional and physical health.