News Releases

The ‘Break the Silence’ Campaign launches in Tobago with Scarborough Walk

For Release Upon Receipt - November 15, 2011

St. Augustine

The ‘Break the Silence: End child sexual abuse’ campaign will launch in Tobago on Friday November 18th, 2011, at 4 pm with an awareness-raising walk starting from James Park, Scarborough to the Garden Side Street Car Park, Scarborough.

The launch is a collaboration among the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), The University of West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine; the Citizen Security Programme, Ministry of National Security; the Tobago House of Assembly; the Bethel Police Youth Club; the Break the Silence Network Tobago, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations in Tobago.

Participants of the Walk will assemble at James Park, Scarborough at 3 pm, to begin at 4 pm. The route will follow along Main Street, onto Castries Street, then onto Wilson Road and end at Garden Side Car Park, where presentations will take place. Government and community representatives will speak on issues of child sexual abuse and incest, and information about the campaign and various resources will be made available. There will also be a live music performance by a Tobagonian artist.

The event will also publicly introduce the newly-founded Break the Silence Network Tobago, which has the main aim of creating and sustaining a groundswell of support and activism among members, who will take the BTS campaign to their various publics through several ‘calls to action.’ Members of the Network include community workers, NGOs, CBOs, service providers, sponsors, individuals and activists.

For additional information, please contact Ms. Tisha Nickenig or Mr. Keshan Latchman of The UWI Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), at 662 2002 Ext. 83573 / 83577 / 83549 or Email:

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About IGDS

2011 marks the 18th Anniversary of the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, formally the Centre for Gender and Development Studies. Our mission is to produce and disseminate knowledge on gender-related issues in the Caribbean in support of the UWI's Mission and to enhance Caribbean development. At the St. Augustine Unit, we offer disciplinary and interdisciplinary courses in Gender across faculties within The University of the West Indies at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. We initiate collaborative research projects that address the relationship of gender to all areas of society. We pursue a programme of outreach activities that includes seminars, workshops and networking events.

About the Break the Silence Campaign

Break the Silence: end child sexual abuse media campaign derives from an action research project spearheaded by the IGDS at The UWI, St. Augustine campus in partnership with UNICEF; The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, administered by UN Women; and Citizen Security Programme, the Ministry of National Security. Other partners include the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence, ChildLine, The Caribbean Health Research Council, Toco Foundation, Arts-in-Action Action (the theatre in education programme of the Department of Creative and Festival Arts at The UWI, St Augustine) and the Tobago House of Assembly.

The campaign aims to specifically to raise awareness about child sexual abuse (CSA)/incest and implication for HIV/AIDS; Increase public awareness about existing resources for preventing and responding to CSA/incest, and Influence leaders to increase their commitment to policies and interventions that prevent and address it.

The campaign symbol — a blue teddy bear with a plaster on its heart — will be highlighted throughout Trinidad and Tobago and is being made available for use by communities, specifically for this cause. It is hoped that the symbol will become as well known as the Red Ribbon for HIV/AIDS. Visit us on facebook ( Get involved in our activities. Email:

About the Break the Silence Research Project:

In 2008 the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS) at The University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine embarked on a comprehensive research programme to look at Gender, Sexuality and the Implications for HIV/AIDS. In support of this programme, UNICEF and The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, administered by UN Women partnered with the IGDS, UWI in an action research project aimed at Breaking the Silence on child sexual abuse (CSA) and incest in Trinidad and Tobago. The Project uses the following strategies:

1) Building partnerships between research institutions, HIV/AIDS, women’s and children’s nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs), community-based organizations (CBOs), service providers, relevant governmental institutions and policy makers;

2) Action-oriented research aimed at understanding the links between gender, CSA/ incest and HIV transmission, and reducing the vulnerability of youth to CSA/incest and HIV;

3) Developing the capacity of service providers (education, health, NGO, governmental, police, community) to address CSA/incest and implications for HIV;

4) Raising awareness among policy makers and service providers to influence new institutional policies and protocols and a national policy that will address CSA/incest and implications for HIV.

The long-term goal of the Project is to reduce the prevalence of child sexual abuse (CSA) or incest and its implication for risky sexual behaviour and HIV. The short-term objectives of the Project are to: Generate new knowledge and understanding of CSA/ incest and the implications for HIV; Empower women, men, girls and boys to understand and address CSA/incest and its implications on the spread of HIV through action research; and Encourage service providers to revise or enhance policies and procedures.

About UWI

Over the last six decades, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged University with over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest and most longstanding higher education provider in the English-speaking Caribbean, with main campuses in Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, and Centres in Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Christopher (St Kitts) & Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent & the Grenadines. UWI recently launched its Open Campus, a virtual campus with over 50 physical site locations across the region, serving over 20 countries in the English-speaking Caribbean. UWI is an international university with faculty and students from over 40 countries and collaborative links with over 60 universities around the world. Through its seven Faculties, UWI offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Pure & Applied Sciences, Science and Agriculture, and Social Sciences.

(Please note that the registered name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)