“CHILDREN SPEAK OUT” 

Digital media campaign launched highlighting the voices of children and youth to end violence and abuse.

Tuesday 13th September, 2022: The Heroes Foundation and the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago in support of the Spotlight Initiative have launched a digital media campaign that highlights the voices, views, thoughts, and opinions of children and youth across Trinidad and Tobago on eliminating violence and abuse against children, particularly gender-based violence.  

The Campaign leverages stories and insights from the lived experiences of over four hundred (400) children on what makes them feel unsafe and their recommendations for addressing the problems they experience.  

Key insights include:  

VIOLENCE AND ABUSE ARE NOT OKAY: Violence and abuse should not be a normalised part of life.  While we may see it around us, it is not something we should accept or be forced to face.  

VIOLENCE AND ABUSE ARE EVERYONE’S BUSINESS: We have a culture of ignoring abuse or distancing ourselves from violence when we see it, but we have a responsibility to challenge it. 

ABUSE IS NOT DISCIPLINE: Parents and caretakers sometimes defend corporal punishment as the most effective form of discipline.  Discipline that instils fear or inflicts hurt or harm instead of imparting a lesson is abuse.  It’s important to think before you act when it comes to discipline; actions have lasting consequences on the lives of children.  

BOYS AND MEN ARE VICTIMS OF VIOLENCE AND ABUSE, TOO: Men and boys are often typecast as the lone perpetrators of violence and ignored as victims, but boys and men are often victims themselves.  It’s important to create safe spaces for men and boys to express emotions, be listened to without judgement, and get help when needed.  It’s also important to show men and boys how to deal with their feeling and emotions in safe and healthy ways.   

WE NEED TO KNOW WHAT’S RIGHT AND WHAT’S NOT: Education and re-education are critical to addressing violence against children and gender-based violence.  There are many behaviours and practices which cause hurt and harm that we’ve learnt to accept but are not right.  Sometimes we need help understanding when our words and actions are not right, and we may need to be shown how to behave differently.  

VIOLENCE AND ABUSE AGAINST CHILDREN CANNOT BE STOPPED BY CHILDREN ALONE: Adults need to know and understand when they are causing hurt and harm to children.  Addressing violence and abuse against children must involve re-educating adults on how to support, care for, and guide children well.  

Heroes Foundation CEO Lawrence Arjoon with Campaign Youth Production team Tahirah Mc Donald, Meagan Primus, Oba Hyland. 

Heroes Campaign Youth Production team members 

YOU CAN GET HELP: There are people who can and will help if you are a victim of violence and abuse.  Use the reporting channels to get help: 

  • Police:999  
  • Children’s Authority: 996  
  • ChildLine: 131 

The Spotlight Initiative is a global initiative of the United Nations which has received generous support from the European Union. It aims to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls.  

Campaign content can be found on all social media platforms for the organisations.