Athill advocates for more professional counselors in schools to combat the increasing incidence of sexual abuse of minors

Clinical psychologist Dr. Cleon Athill says there is an urgent need for more professional counselors in the schools to tackle the issue of sex education among the youth and avoid or minimize instances of sexual abuse.

Reports of such offences – most involving minor girls – have been on the increase recently.

Dr. Athill, the United Progressive Party (UPP) Candidate for St. Paul, notes that, over the years, the Government has tried various interventions through healthy-lifestyle and family-life education programmes and models.

She acknowledges that there are more counselors in the schools now, and says this type of education should take place at the counseling level. However, she believes that trained professionals with at least a Master’s degree should be recruited, rather than teachers having to play multiple roles.

Athill says they can offer interventions and hold group and individual sessions with students and class sessions, as well.

Additionally, the clinical psychologist says there is a need for education programmes for parents, since many of them have some serious deficits.

Schools also require a student-services platform, which would include the services of trained counselors, Dr. Athill says.