Children interacting with presenters during one of the sessions (CCPA image)Youths from several villages in Region Nine (Upper Takutu–Upper Essequibo) were recently taught how to identify abuse and report same.This was done through sensitisation sessions facilitated by the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) in observance of National Youth Week, and the CCPA said the sessions were held in collaboration with the Schools Welfare Department in the villages of Karasabai and Tiger Pond in the North Pakaraimas. The sessions were geared towards helping the children pinpoint abuse and “tell” trustworthy adults.Some 509 children from the Karasabai Nursery and Primary schools, along with children from the Tiger Pond Nursery and Primary schools, participated in the event.Sessions were also held with teachers in the area, to help them recognise child abuse in their classrooms; and they were reminded of their responsibility to report such instances to the relevant authorities.A Child Protection Officer also participated in a round-table discussion aimed at addressing social issues youths face in today’s society. This was done at the St. Ignatius Secondary School.The activity was intended to challenge youths, and persons involved with them on a daily basis, to take a stand against child abuse. This year, National Youth Week, observed in Guyana from May 18 to 25, was held under the theme ‘Inspire and Build Resilient Youth’.The CCPA revealed in April that there has been a growing number of reported child abuse cases in Guyana, and for last year, over 4900 such cases were recorded. This represents an alarming number, and the general consensus is that this scourge is fuelled by neglect and other social ills.Of this number of cases, 2400 were as a result of neglect. Up to January, 400 cases were reported, with 122 being of a sexual nature.Child Link had conducted a study, and disclosed just days prior to the CCPA announcement that children in Guyana were being abused even before they become mature.“National statistics compiled by Child Care and Protection Agency confirmed that abuse of children, both physical and sexual, starts from as young as zero to three (years old). The data indicates that the sexual abuse of girl children remains high in the country. The number of reported cases is as follows: 801 in 2018, 392 in 2017, and 616 in 2016. Similarly, cases reported for boy children were 179 in 2018, 442 in 2017 and 118 in 2016,” ChildLink researcher Samantha Alleyne told the gathering.According to her, it has been found that children between the ages of 8 and 18 are more vulnerable to these attacks.In just over two months into this year, 400 reports of child abuse were already received by the Child Care and Protection Agency.