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SLMDA Takes "Good Touch, Bad Touch" Campaign To Schools

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Wednesday, November 15, 2006 – The St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) is collaborating with the Ministry of Education, to promote its “Good Touch' Bad Touch” Child Sexual Abuse campaign. Some 700 students of the Camille Henry Memorial Primary School on Monday November 13th heard the “Good Touch, Bad Touch” message. This is the first of several schools which will be visited by members of the Association in order to spread the word of the negative effects of sexual abuse on children.

President of the SLMDA, Dr. Leslie Bishop, who conducted the school’s morning assembly, spoke to the students in different groups, according to grade level. Dr. Bishop’s overriding message to the students is that children should “tell” whenever an adult touches them in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable, or embarrassed.

Manager of the National Child and Adolescent Health Program and member of the St. Lucia Medical and Dental Association Dr. Jacqueline Bird said, the Association is taking a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling the worrying issues of child neglect and abuse.

“It is not that we have not said anything before, and a lot of people may well be asking why now. My answer to that is why not now. It is something that has concerned us for a long time. Parenting is lacking in St. Lucia, and neglect and abuse of children is just too common. I would suspect that would be the main problem that any body dealing with children would see as a negative in St. Lucia,” said Dr. Bird.

The paediatrician said the public should become familiar with the Convention on the Rights of the child, which she said, is a very simple and easy to read document. She said everyone should learn the general principles enshrined in the convention such as child discrimination, the views of children, and their rights to survival.

“I think everybody should recognize that St. Lucia has signed the convention on the rights of the child so we are legally obligated as a signatory to respect these rights,” Dr. Bird said.

Similar “Good touch; Bad Touch” messages will be delivered to other schools throughout the term. As part of the SLMDA’s campaign an essay competition for Primary and Secondary students, based on the theme “Good Touch-Bad Touch, Know the Difference” is being organized, as well as a skit competition for children in special education schools.

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