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Crime and violence as a public health issue

By Tonia Leacock-Gooding

Communities Alive Education and Training

It is quite commendable that leaders in various countries came together to discuss this matter of great concern and importance. It is of even greater significance that a document was drafted to highlight the major areas to be addressed.

What this document clearly showed is that crime is everyone’s business, not just government business. So, I took the opportunity to highlight the specific points that targeted these factors to offer a multifaceted suggestion.

Seized at the urgent need to reverse the normalization of violence in social interaction and to restore the bonds of social solidarity.

Social solidarity is closely related to social cohesion and is the idea of a well-integrated functioning society where all members have been socialised into its shared norms and values.

What are the basic norms and values that we, as a country would like to be known for, and practise? Basic ones such as honesty, generosity, loyalty, justice, courage, self-control, and wise decision-making that can transmit to our nation’s social capital in terms of investment opportunities, a safe and welcoming society, healthy and wholesome families, and communities where all can exist in peaceful co-existence. That is the only way to restore the bonds of social solidarity and reverse the violence in society.

Reform our Education System to empower our citizens and better enable their socio-emotional development, in recognition that the social and emotional learning of the child is as important as the technical and academic achievements.

The Education system of any country entails the parent, the teacher, and the child. One does not exist without the other, and one cannot thrive without the other. We all must do our part. The human person exists at many levels. Understanding and addressing the needs of the physical, psychological, and spiritual levels are  absolutely essential in helping our young children discover their potential.

Education is not only about academic success but enabling each person to discover all their talents and put them to good use for the common good, while striving to develop life skills for healthy relationships.

Work with all sectors and institutions to ensure equitable access to services, for rehabilitation and reintegration into society psycho-social support and parental education, addressing domestic violence, integrating mental issues to treat with crime and violence.

Parents need support and education. Firstly, parents need to be pro-active in their parenting. There are many styles of parenting that can be adopted. The main question that needs to be asked ‘What kind of child (character NOT career) do I want my child to become, and what am I doing about making that happen TODAY.’

This means that education of this nature needs to take place before our children leave school. Parents need to be supported by institutions that address the many challenges that we face in the daily bringing up of a family – the economic, physical, and mental, even maternity, and paternity leave, so that each child can have the best possible start in life.

Engage and empower young people to be positive content developers to offset negative impact of social media and engage with creative industries to re-engineer culturally acceptable norms.

GIGO. Garbage In Garbage Out. Statistics are showing worldwide that with the onset of social media, there has never been a period in history with so much negativity among young people.

One needs to understand and appreciate that a positive outlook on life does not materialise overnight. Since the days of philosophers of old, virtues are the path to happiness (Aristotle), traits of character, stable dispositions within your capacities to live out well the value systems and norms for human flourishing. So again, education in this way of thinking and being, needs to be developed.

One solution that can address all these aforementioned areas is a programme offered by the NGO – Communities Alive Education and Training, called Alive to the World.

Alive to the World is an educational tool that is designed to help students at each age level from 5 to 18 years old to discover, appreciate and assimilate universal values, incorporating them into positive attitudes and behaviour, so that they may lead healthy, happy and stable lives, both in the family and within their communities.

Its aim is integral human development which allows for the harmonisation of the different aspects of human existence. It involves self-knowledge, respect for others and the pursuit of a purpose in life.

The programme covers the topics of the Values Character and Citizenship Education (VCCE) curriculum as well as the main themes of the Human and Family Life Education (HFLE) curriculum of the Ministry of Education.

We need this programme in every school to fill in the missing gap in our existing education system.


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