National Response to Violence Against Children in Relation to General Comment 13: The situation in Suriname – a Sociojuridical Exploration
Anton de Kom
University of Suriname, Paramaribo,
This study compared the existing child protection system in Suriname with the guidelines of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (Committee), as described in General Comment no. 13, the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence (GC 13). The existing child protection system in Suriname provides legal and social child protection through the Ministry of Justice and Police and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Housing. Data were gathered using a questionnaire, interviews, and focus group discussions from 128 individuals involved in the medical, social, and legal assistance to child victims of violence in all 10 districts of Suriname. Findings indicate that children were rarely involved in the decisionmaking process, information was not delivered in a childcentered manner, and primary prevention and counseling support for families were weak, especially for those in rural and hinterland areas. Inadequate funding mechanisms, lack of understanding of existing child protection laws, and deficiencies in training of social service providers were major hindrances in service delivery. To improve the current assistance process, a monitoring system must be designed and implemented in which the prevention, identification, reporting, treatment, referral and follow-up of child victims of violence are carried out effectively and efficiently.