Shortchanging our children – Understaffed OCA struggling to fulfil its mandate

More than 70,000 children in Jamaica were reported abused between 2007 and 2015 and the rights of hundreds more have been violated since then, but the Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) has been hard-pressed to investigate many of these cases.
Severely understaffed, the OCA, which is mandated to protect and enforce the rights of children while promoting their well-being, is struggling to manage what is a burgeoning caseload.
With four attorneys, six investigators, and no psychologists, the OCA has found itself facing a dilemma and Deputy Children’s Advocate Justice Henderson Downer said the office is only able to touch the tip of the iceberg in relation to the cases that come before it.

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