Women in Action (WIA) – Girls on Suicide Watch
Submitted by Women in Action (WIA)
PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31st May, 2021
Women in Action (WIA) network of organisations and individuals is demanding an update from the Minister of Home Affairs Wilfred Abrahams on the wellbeing of the girls who were reported as being on suicide watch at the Psychiatric Hospital and the other girls who have been returned to solitary confinement.
We assert that the families of the girls and the public have the right to an update and even further, have the right to know without having to ask considering the seriousness of the repeated allegations made by current and former wards of the Barrows Unit of the Government Industrial School. We therefore expect that within five days Minister Abrahams will provide the nation with such an update.
Given the concerns voiced by many about the lack of rehabilitative work being done with the girls, and the clear need for such work, we want to know how the rehabilitative needs of the girls on suicide watch and those confined at the Barrows Unit are being addressed at this time. We cannot take it for granted that they are receiving the care needed: it would be irresponsible of us to ignore the cries of our children.
In March 2021, Mr. Abrahams declared that the rights of children must never be compromised. One such right as stated in Article 3(3) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to which Barbados became a signatory in 1990 states that “State Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision”.
Until such time as we can confirm that the local standards are on par with international standards and rules, our reference point for the standard of care and protection of our children will be the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child predators have invaded our homes, schools, churches and even state run facilities; it is a problem when the adults in the society are not keeping watch over the children. The situation at hand says to us that it will not be enough to repeal laws, reform legislation and change staff; this calls for an extensive educational outreach across the society. What is government waiting for?
Spokesperson for WIA