Parents and teachers have been invited to join an international online talk about child sex abuse tonight.

The Zoom discussion is also open to other members of the public, including police and anyone who works with children.

Shervonne Hollis, one of the hosts, said the event was designed to highlight “the importance of prevention, recognising and supporting victims of sexual abuse”.

She added the session was part of a series of talks that will also cover domestic violence.

The discussions are expected to include people from The Bahamas, the Caribbean and Bermuda.

Ms Hollis, a Bermuda resident originally from The Bahamas, is the founder of the country’s 242 Domestic Violence Support Network.

She also started the Foreign Women Club of Bermuda.

Debi Ray-Rivers, the founder and executive director of Saving Children and Revealing Secrets, a child sex abuse prevention charity, will also take part in the discussion.

Ms Ray-Rivers said that Scars has campaigned and educated adults on the island about child sexual abuse for nine years.

She added: “The work and voice of Scars has changed the landscape of child protection in our country of Bermuda.

“It would not be possible without the Darkness to Light organisation, whose evidence-informed educational curriculum has been used to create the change.”

Almost 10,900 adults in Bermuda have taken Scars’ classes, which Ms Ray-Rivers said showed that residents “care about children and … care about stopping child sexual abuse”.

She said that Kathy Lynn Simmons, the Attorney-General, had made child protection a priority and introduced laws that strengthened safeguards for children.

Ms Ray-Rivers added: “We have principals of our educational institutions and a Commissioner of Education who care about children and care about reducing risk.

“We have a Department of Health which oversees and regulates our nursery schools, daycare centres and home care providers to ensure protection.”

Ms Ray-Rivers said: “We hear about more and more of our youth-serving organisations implementing best practice codes of conduct and conducting risk assessments that will keep children safe.

“Parents are taking our training and feeling empowered to talk to their own children about body safety.

“Prevention is becoming a priority in our country of Bermuda and that’s a great thing for children and future generations of children.

“Bermuda holds the torch as the first country in the world to have educated the most adults in prevention and we can see the positive effects.

“We are excited and hopeful that this movement will continue to other islands around the world.“

Ms Hollis and Ms Ray-Rivers will be joined by other campaigners for the event.

• For more information and details on the Zoom event, e-mail or visit the242 Domestic Violence Support Network Facebook page.


The Royal Gazette