Early childhood educators from Vieux Fort are attending a one-day workshop on child abuse.
Organized by the Division of Human Services and UNICEF, it is the second such training workshop for early childhood educators in Saint Lucia.
The first was held in Castries last year.
The Director of the Division of Human Services, Elizabeth Lewis, told the Times that a major part of the training workshop focusses on how to recognize child abuse in the youngsters who are in the care of those attending the event.
Lewis disclosed that some forty educators are in attendance.
“The biggest issue for me personally and for the department is the age at which children are being abused, as young as three and four especially sexual abuse.” Lewis lamented.
She told the Times that the abused children cannot speak on their own behalf and need an adult to recognize their problem and speak on their behalf.
She revealed that the training workshop in Vieux Fort would not only help those in attendance recognize signs of child abuse, but discuss reporting protocols as well.
“We want persons to be part of the response and in this regard we recognize the importance of our early childhood educators,” Lewis explained.
The training workshop will also include a presentation by a Clinical Psychologist on the effect that child abuse has on brain development at a tender age and a discussion of strategies for talking with young children about abuse.
Lewis herself will deal with the issue of protocols for reporting child abuse.