The Department of Education Services takes Child Protection very seriously and has specific policies in place to ensure that when a staff member has reasonable suspicion that a child is being abused appropriate action is always taken.
Everyone employed or volunteering in an Educational Institution is required to complete Ministry of Education approved training, and to complete refresher training every year. Staff and volunteers are ‘mandated reporters’ and therefore are legally required to report any reasonable suspicion of child abuse and neglect that they become aware of during their work with children. If a staff member or volunteer does not make a report of abuse or neglect when they have ‘reasonable suspicion’ they may face a fine or imprisonment or both.
Child abuse is defined in the Children Law (2012) as, “any act that harms or can possibly harm a child, or the failure to protect a child against any such harm”. Abuse can happen to a child regardless of their age, gender, race or ability.
It can be emotional, physical or sexual. It can also be a carer not providing for a child’s basic needs resulting in neglect.
Any child can be a victim of abuse in any family, in any place or online, and it often happens over a period of time, rather than as a one-off event. Abuse can have a devastating effect on a child’s development and have consequences that last a lifetime.
If you work in a school in the Cayman Islands and are unsure about any aspect of Child Protection or Child Abuse please contact your school Child Protection Officer, or the Designated Safeguarding Lead for the Department of Education Services.
Gina M. Argenzio-Gayle, MSW, LCSW
Child Protection/Designated Safeguarding Liaison