The Child Protection Authority (CPA) takes this opportunity to wish a happy new school year to the students, teachers and principals of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Going back to school after a long vacation period, or going to school for the very first time, can awaken feelings of excitement, anxiety and even a bit of sadness for some. However, we are confident that this new journey will be filled with many fun and memorable experiences, as you embark on new educational frontiers.

Sadly, over the vacation period, the CPA learnt that there have been several reported cases of abuse, particularly child sexual abuse, and other incidences such as house fires that have put many of our precious ones in very disadvantaged positions.

We wish to inform the public that we have made contact with those affected and intend to continue working along with them and their families to provide whatever psycho-social support we can, as well as assist by referring them to requisite agencies for other forms of support.

On this note, the Authority wishes to remind all Grenadians that we all have our role to play when it comes to the protection of our children. Therefore, as the island gets back into ‘school mode’, we encourage principals and teachers to:

*Create and maintain safe environments for their students;

*Ensure the adults employed at their schools do not pose a risk to the students;

*Encourage students to stay safe;

*Empower and encourage staff members to know how to identify signs of child abuse and

*Most importantly, remember that the Grenada National Child Abuse Protocol requires “the mandatory reporting of child abuse, as provided for in Section 27 of the Child Protection and Adoption Act”, and consequently, “all cases of abuse, whether actual or suspected, must be immediately reported to the principal, who is expected to refer the case/s to the Child Protection Authority within twenty-four hours of receiving the report”.

We also encourage parents and guardians to play their part by developing an effective communication plan with their children, and schools, to ensure students’ safety while away from home. We also urge stakeholders to support programs that promote child safety in and outside of the home.

As we close, we again wish the very best to all the students of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique as they prepare to embark on a new educational adventure.

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