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Nov 25, 1998

Children campaign against violence

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While the police were making a civic minded at the shelter, not far away a group of Belize City children were making a statement of their own.

Belize City students took a stand against child abuse by wearing yellow ribbons and tags to school today. The activity is being observed to remind the community that we all have a role to play in keeping our children safe. According to Lorna McDougal the director for the National Organization for the Prevention of Child Abuse, they have been disturbed by the increase in reports of missing children especially two cases, which ended in murder.

Lorna McDougal, Director, NOPCA

“We are very frightened by it. Child abuse for me has taken on a new face. I think it was years ago that we had an eight year old girl that died, that we suspect was the result of a killer and we were hoping that something like that would never again become part of us, unfortunately it has happened.”

McDougal says for too long we have been teaching children to trust grownups and to trust people they know, but in light of the recent events, she believes the time has now come to tell children it’s safer for them to use their own instinct.

Lorna McDougal

“If they don’t feel comfortable about someone or about doing a particular thing, then don’t do it. We also want to encourage them not to take gifts, not to take anything. Children love sweets, they love to be given stuff but we need to discourage tht because this is how some children get into trouble.”

The children of Saint Joseph school, during their activity for the day, did a skit that showed the boys and girls just how innocently children can be tempted and led away.


“Boy flopping across stage. Hi ladies, what school do you go?

Girls: ‘St. Joseph, Standard six.”

Boy: “Very nice, I go to SJC second form. What are your manes?”

Girl 1: “Don’t tell him your name.”

Boy: “Come on we are all friends. So, where are we going? ”

Girl 2: “What do you mean we?”

Boy: “Come on we will have a great time.”

Luckily, the young girls did not leave with the young man but instead quickly walked off and told a policeman about the incident. One way NOPCA is trying to keep our children safe is by teaching them what to do when they are in a sticky situation, it’s called the eight rules for safety.

Lorna McDougal

“Children should always seek the permission of their parents before they go anywhere. To let their parents know where they are going, who they will be going with. And to also make sure that whenever there is a change of plan, to let their parents, guardians and even their teacher know that there is a change of plan and that they will be going to x to x-y-z.”

Children are being encouraged to always travel in pairs and to never get into a vehicle with a stranger or even with someone they know, unless they have gotten permission from their parents. Parents as well are also being advised to take time out to talk and listen to their sons and daughters.

Lorna McDougal

“It’s our children, these are the children who will be taking over Belize and we need to do whatever it is that we can do to ensure their well being and again parents must realize that they have a major responsibility. The first responsibility lies with them and so they need to ensure that they sit and talk with their children and listen to their children and provide their children with the kind of information that will enable them to live safe.”

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