“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.”
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.”