(JAMAICA GLEANER) – Covert videotaping of severe child-abuse cases is being encouraged by psychologist, Dr E Anthony Allen, following the recent emergence of a video that has since gone viral, in which a four-year-old child was being badly beaten by her mother in Westmoreland.
At the same time, speaking to The Gleaner yesterday, Allen warned that individuals should ensure that they don’t invade other people’s privacy in doing so.
“If somebody is witnessing abuse, persons should see it as a responsibility to record it, and even when they witness other crimes, too. At the same time, it must be done in the context of an informed and responsible use of technology.”
“On one hand, it can be a good thing to expose problems, but on the other, we have to be careful about (utilising) technology to invade other people’s privacy.”
He recommended that more should be done to sensitise the public on how each person can play a positive role by video recording and bringing to light instances of child abuse.
“Our social-development organisations need to make the public aware of the significance of new technology. People need to understand smartphone etiquette,” he said.
Former chief executive officer at the National Parenting Commission Dr Petrece Charles, who is the counselling psychologist at the Phoenix Counselling Centre, told The Gleaner that the child-protection services must assess and decide on appropriate punishment for child-abuse violators.
“That is not corporal punishment, that is physical abuse, and also verbal and emotional abuse, breaking the spirit of the child. Anyone watching the video would definitely see that it was a very abusive action on the part of the mother. One of the things I would like to see put in place by the new Child Protection and Family Services and also the Parenting Commission, is the consequences that parents must face when they abuse their children,” she said.
Continuing, Dr Charles said that putting a parent in jail may not be the best thing.
“I suggest community service and mandatory counselling sessions and then follow-up field work by the child-protection agency is what is needed, but definitely not a slap on the wrist.”