Podcast: Martha Dismont On Child Neglect/Abuse

September 23, 2016

In the latest Bernews podcast, we sit down with Martha Dismont, the Executive Director of the Family Centre, which has recently launched a campaign called ‘Neglect Is Abuse, See It, Stop It’ to try and stem a significant rise in cases of child neglect.

Ms Dismont links the rise in neglect cases directly “to the conditions we are seeing in Bermuda”, “particularly the rise in unemployment among locals”.

“Parents are stressed and therefore not really able to think about these issues that we are finding affect children.”

Bernews Podcast with Martha Dismont

She said the campaign is designed to try and support parents to help them think more about the signs of neglect and paying attention to the issues affecting children.

There are some blatant issues that affect children and lead to neglect such as domestic violence, but other, subtler, things like leaving a child with a relative to care without knowing what might actually be happening to the child, she said.

The campaign is not just aimed at parents – they might be working three jobs and be busy all hours of day and night – it is also aimed at the entire community.

“This is not blame or shame, it is raising awareness. We hear from the community that ‘I was not aware’. We are a community under certain conditions at the moment.”

24-minute podcast with Martha Dismont | Brought to you by Bermuda Bistro at the Beach:

Neglect, she says, is also multi-generational – one set of parents sees neglectful behaviour as the norm and that norm is passed down the generations. “There are homes where there is not good nurturance, we find that to be quite rampant.”

One case of neglect that stands out for Ms Dismont is when a student was given lunch consisting entirely of bacon.

“I remember a brief instance when I was talked to a teacher at a school who told me what children were bringing in for lunches. She said how shocked she was one day when a young boy had his lunchbox and it was full of just bacon.

“That was his lunch, full of bacon. That is neglect, that is physical neglect.”


Bernews’ podcasts aim to provide an in-depth look at current affairs, and the text extracts above represent only a small portion of the full interviews.

You can also download the episode in MP3 format here, view past podcasts here, subscribe via iTunes, access podcasts via TuneIn, or download the Bernews app and enjoy advance listening, with each episode available for download directly to your phone or tablet earlier than it is released on our main site.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Black Soil says:

    Finally getting to the core problem. Most of the issues we face drill back to parental neglect. Parents can look after a cell phone, a car and take a vacation, but some find it very difficult to also provide a sandwich, apple and a flask of juice in their kids lunch box. Our community has completely lost sight of priorities and that it takes personal sacrifice to raise children. Too many parents want it all and their kids (and the community at large) pay the price.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      So very true .
      I once worked with a few people in my IB days who had basic qualifications and were earning above average wages that put them above 80% of their peer group but it was more important to them to be able to have a new car every 3 years , the latest fashions and of course, those mandatory 3 trips (shopping) not counting the cruise down south every year instead of spending the money on a good private school education for their children .
      And we all know what the end result of this is !