The Linden office of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) joined with other agencies across Guyana on Tuesday in observance of Child Protection Week 2019, with the hosting of an awareness symposium.Child Protection Week is being observed from September 22 to 28 under the theme: “Promoting social change to stop the violation of children”.The symposium, which was held at the Egbert Benjamin Centre, saw representatives from Schools Welfare Department, Blossom Inc – which is responsible for the Child Advocacy Centre— social workers, Police divisions, religious bodies, Toshaos’ Council, and educators in attendance. According to Region 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice) Senior Childcare and Protection Officer (ag) Huette Moore, the aim of the activity is to spread the message that the protection of children is everybody’s business and all need to get involved.“We find children are violated in many different ways in terms of abuse, even in the school setting. So our invitees here today include headmasters and headmistresses from the primary and secondary schools…our message basically is to let people know that Child Protection cannot do this work alone, we need everybody’s participation…We should not abuse our children and if we see children are being abused, we shouldn’t let it go by the wayside,” Moore said.She added that child abuse is a sore issue in Region 10, more so within its riverine areas. Moore explained that presently, there is no Child Protection Officer overseeing communities in these areas and there have been calls for an officer to be placed in the riverine community of Region 10.“Currently, Region 10 only has 2 Child Protection Officers and there’s a lot of work to be done. Nevertheless, we’re trying our best…we’re going to start an outreach next month, going up the river. We’re going to start from Kwakwani…We’re trying to put it out there that Child Protection is here and there’s a place you can go for help. And if we cannot help you, we know where you can go to get help”, she noted.One of the most prominent issues dealt with in the Region, Moore stated, is child neglect, with sexual abuse next in line based on monthly reports. She noted that the Agency also assists in terms of ensuring both parents have access to their children. Moore said one positive improvement seen in the Region is that fathers are taking a more prominent role in being a part of their children’s lives and are fighting for access to their children. She noted that the Agency is proud of this development and encouraged more fathers to play an active role in the lives of their children. Moore further made calls for more collaboration in curbing the issue of child abuse.She further urged anyone who knows of a child being abused to report the issue. She said, regretfully, even in some cases where justice is served, children are left damaged for life. Moore believes that parents, guardians, and adults all need to play an active role and take the responsibility of protecting children as she urged all to step up, support and be a voice for children as well as pay attention to them when they speak. Moore said the Agency is also interested in hosting another symposium within the first quarter of the new year, which would include members of the business sector along with governmental organisations in Region 10.Region 10 recorded the highest rate of child abuse cases in Guyana in 2017, with a 22.1 per cent of the country’s total, with most of the reported cases deriving from Linden. Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA), Ann Greene just last year during an interview with this publication indicated that the Region also had the highest rate of child neglect and sexual abuse at the time as she noted that child abuse is “a hidden crime”. As such, Greene had made calls for sexual regulation at the family level, as she explained that there is much more work to be done. Other cases, she had indicated, came from riverine areas such as Kwakwani.