Dismont: ‘Make The Care Of Children A Priority’

December 15, 2016 | 5 Comments

“The recent revelations to the public by footballers of molestation during their childhood are of significance in this community where so many similar problems have been kept hidden,” said Executive Director of the Family Centre, Martha Dismont.

“We also know that individuals in this community have not felt comfortable seeking counseling for these occurrences, or reporting them. Mr. Bascome’s revelation is monumental.

“We commend individuals like Mr. Bascome who felt that he had enough ‘safe surroundings’ and friends to support him to reveal what clearly has been a source of emotional pain for him for many years.”

Martha Dismont TC template Bermuda December 15 2016

She noted, “In 2010, the Inter Agency Committee for Children and Families, an association of social service providers, conducted a survey of over 50 social service providers asking for a list of the reason that clients seek out services.

“It was revealed that the number one referring reason for seeking services was “Unhealthy relationships due to multi-generational unaddressed trauma”—emotional and abusive issues that have remained unaddressed, untreated, and unresolved due to the lack of proper treatment.”

“As social service providers, we have worked to protect the confidentiality of the individual and the family within treatment; however, we have always been concerned that the numbers that have come forward for treatment are likely small compared to the number that is unreported, or untreated in our small community.

“We will never know that number until more individuals feel comfortable speaking out, reporting the offense, and seeking treatment for the trauma that has occurred.

“Our responsibility is to provide education and awareness, to treat victims and perpetrators, and to protect the individual victim through confidential processes.

“The responsibility of our community is to help to prevent these offences from occurring, and to offer safe environments to report. It is not unusual for communities of this size, and particularly, for a small island tourist community to want to hide the problem, but ultimately it is not healthy. Our best response is to deal with it and address the challenges head on.”

“The work of SCARS, and other organizations who stress the importance of being diligent about the care and protection of children, should remain a priority for this country.

“We suspect there is a prevalence of these offences, which mean we have not made the care and protection of children a priority in the most practical way—offering loving environments where they feel safe to tell someone if they have been approached, or if the offence does occur to report that it has happened.

“Our lack of safe and nurturing environments can be an offence all by itself. We place a priority on the care and protection of children, when we look squarely at the types of environments that we have created and consider changing them. These revelations offer the opportunity for healing, treatment, and policy change that prevents the re-occurrence.”

She concluded, “We make the care of children a priority when we require youth programmes to have the best practices in place, such as ensuring young people are never placed in isolated environments with only one adult present, and we require supervision of older youth caring for younger children.

“If we are to honour Mr. Bascome’s courage, we will ensure that no other young person suffers as he has suffered, and we make the protection and care of children and their families, a community priority.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Kim Smith says:

    Would organisations like The Family Centre and The Coalition for the Protection of Children have a duty to report instances of sexual abuse when they become aware of it?

  2. Community First says:

    Thank you Family Centre and Ms. Dismont for your words of wisdom and encouragement following the powerful public disclosure by two courageous Bermudian men.

    The concept of inter and multi generational trauma is a complex issue for our small community and one that takes both our courage and vulnerability to address. This will not be a quick fix as evidenced by how many years and possibly decades our politicians and healing services have been aware of this trauma.

    May we continue to support and heal both the victims and the perpetrators and may all the services active in this area collaborate, coordinate and consolidate as appropriate to make the pathway to healing for both victims and perpetrators clear to follow.

    Publishing a list of helping agencies, outlining their services and fee structure may assist those who are suffering.

    • sage says:

      There will be no fix at all if the perpetrators are afforded continued anonymity.

  3. Kathy says:

    We MUST make children the PRIORITY in our society!

    We MUST:

    1. change our legislation to give the maximum penalty to whomever is deemed the perpetrator
    2. give the victims the highest protection and anonymity possible
    3. educate our children in school to know that our society does not accept that behaviour
    4. provide at our schools a safe haven location and assigned person for them to be able to report this unacceptable behaviour and help them to feel that if they tell they WILL be protected under the law

    I live in Europe and I see a much higher priority for children here, with respect to education, protection, health and safety. France even has a law that allows mothers of children who are standing in line (for example, at a restaurant or in a bathroom) to go ahead of everyone in the line. The law REQUIRES the restaurant manager to spot that woman in the line and to escort her to the front of the line. THAT is how important children are in France!

    Our children are precious and NOT ONE SINGLE child should EVER suffer from any form of sexual abuse. If they do, it means we DO NOT have sufficient practices and laws in place to protect them!

  4. I am with sage… without affirmation and social enquiry, it is swept under the rug and associated perception of unpleasantness takes a higher precedent than address and quelling. Abatement is required… and it is an unpleasant deed that must transpire.

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