A fence-and-gate-decorating competition and a run/walk event are among the activities planned in April for the territory’s 20th observance of Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month, according to government.

“All of our children deserve and need love and respect,” said Health and Social Development Minister Marlon Penn. “It is our job as adults to make sure our children are safe from physical, sexual and emotional abuse, that they are not exposed to violence, and [that they are not] expected to handle situations that are beyond their developmental ability.”

The government, he added, remains committed to working towards ensuring that VI children are protected from discrimination, violence and injustice. In relation to this year’s theme — “20 Years of Prevention, Protection and Awareness” — Mr. Penn said much has changed over the past two decades.

However, he noted that the work must continue with all stakeholders to keep children safe.

“As the minister responsible for social development, I am committed to working towards creating a Virgin Islands where there is zero tolerance for child abuse, and everywhere is a safe space for its children,” he said. “The Virgin Islands must be a place where children are afforded the opportunity to thriveand be children.”

Also as part of the month’sactivities, the Social Development Department operated abooth at the cultural food fair onSaturday during the VirginGorda Easter Festival.

Items on display there included educational booksbrochures and branded teddybears.

For more information aboutthe month’s events, call the SDDat 469-3636 or 468-3650.