More than 1,500 children and teenagers killed in Jamaica since 2001

(Jamaica Gleaner) Criminals in Jamaica have ruthlessly murdered more than 1,500 children and teenagers since the turn of the 21st century.

The number of child/teen killings between 2001 and 2010 could have easily doubled, as statistics published by the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) show that 1,600 more were gunshot victims.

Noted academic and chairman of the Early Childhood Commission, Professor Maureen Samms-Vaughan, believes a study on the number of children murdered per capita in Jamaica is needed.

Betty-Ann Blaine, convenor of Hear the Children’s Cry, believes successive governments have avoided commissioning a review of the number of children murdered per capita in Jamaica because the results would be shameful. “I think the authorities are afraid to do it (because) the picture would be bad. The Government will not initiate it because it will be embarrassing for them,” she said.

At the same time, Samms-Vaughan argued that the study should not be undertaken merely to unearth numbers but to get an understanding of child killings so that appropriate intervention measures can be crafted to remedy the problem.

“It is something that we should be checking. We really should be monitoring it,” Samms-Vaughan told The Sunday Gleaner.

She added: “Monitoring it against international data allows us to see if we are doing well in comparison to other countries and we can learn from other people’s interventions.”

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