Press Release

Ministry of Health & Social Development
Social Development
Release Date:
Friday, 23 June 2017 - 4:47pm

The Ministry of Health and Social Development continues to build close partnerships and gain support to help prevent child sexual abuse through a series of adult training sessions.

The award winning training programme, Stewards of Children, is in collaboration with and coordinated by the BVI Red Cross which teaches adults how to prevent, recognise and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.

Deputy Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Social Development, Ms. Tasha Bertie applauds the BVI Red Cross for taking the initiative to spearhead the delivery of this programme. She also highlighted that with BVI Red Cross’ assistance and funding from the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the programme is well on its way in the prevention of child sexual abuse.

She explained, “As a Ministry responsible for safeguarding the youth, we want to ensure that we prevent abuse and protect our Territory’s children. If adults are given the tools to ensure this, then we are building better people, better homes and by extension, better communities.”

BVI Red Cross Director, Mrs. Helen Frett said, “We realised that it is a big problem…there was a study in the Caribbean that highlighted that children by age ten were exposed to some sort of sexual activity that was involuntary. That is why we are running this programme, so we can help make sure that our children are safe and less likely to have emotional baggage from acts committed against them.”

Adults, in particular those who are in frequent contact with children such as school teachers, daycare workers, religious-based leaders and youth organisation leaders will be targeted in the first instance to be trained in this month. Thereafter, once the ‘train-the-trainers’ sessions are complete, these individuals are then equipped to become facilitators to ensure more training opportunities are available throughout their communities and organisations. More sessions will become available to the wider public in the coming months.

Director Frett said the hope is to educate adults in the community to take responsibility for protecting children from sexual abuse. The programme is being facilitated through the Darkness to Light Organisation which has a mission to empower persons to end child sexual abuse.

UNICEF is a United Nations (UN) programme that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries and has been a longstanding partner to the British Virgin Islands.

For more information on how to become a trained facilitator of the Stewards of Children programme, contact the BVI Red Cross at (284) 494-6349.

The Ministry of Health and Social Development aspires to provide a caring and integrated system of health and social services that facilitates human development and improves the quality of life in the Virgin Islands.


Adrianna J. Soverall

Ministry of Health and Social Development
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Telephone: 1(284)468-2272 or 2174