Symposium to End Violence Against Children

(Information gathered from a press release by the Special Envoy) 

The Special Envoy for Women and Children Mrs. Kim Simplis Barrow, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation, the National Committee for Families and Children, Restore Belize, the European Union and UNICEF hosted a symposium to build the RoadMap to End Violence Against Children from November 21st-22nd at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza. The event brought together members of the public and private sectors as well as the government, civil society and the churches to discuss ways to end all forms of violence against children. 

Over the two days, participants  analysed the existing Child Protection System, progress been made, gaps that need to be addressed and recommendations from regional and international conferences to be implemented. The ultimate goal was to formulate a Roadmap which will be a comprehensive document outlining specific actions that need to be taken, the institutions and individuals that will be responsible for each task and a timeline for its completion. This process has also seen the production of a first of its kind desk review; which provides a clear picture of the progress that has been made over the years and the needs that still exist. This has provided a strong foundation for the discussions and the RoadMap. As one of the key aspects of the RoadMap will be to incorporate child participation, young people from across the country were invited to add their voices to the conversation in panel discussions and working groups. 

While Mrs. Barrow has been continuously working for the protection of children, particularly sexual abuse and exploitation, she and all the partners involved believe that ending violence is everyone’s business. Strengthening the child protection system has included the passage of legislation, two successful symposiums on Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and the launch of the good touch, bad touch children’s book “My Body is Precious”. This symposium broadens the scope of her work and that of the partners, by looking at all forms of violence against children including sexual, physical, emotional and psychological abuse as well as neglect. Belize’s children must be protected and this symposium was a call to action for a national response to end all forms of violence against our children. For more information on the work of the Special Envoy go to the website or Facebook page (Images used via UNICEF Belize Facebook page)