UNICEF launched the Blue Teddy campaign at the Sub-Regional Meeting for Follow-up to the UN Study on Violence Against Children in the Caribbean in Kingston, Jamaica, in May 2012, and at the Sub-Regional Conference on Child Sexual Abuse to Advance the UNiTE Campaign in November 2012, in Barbados. The Break the Silence Initiative is a multi-pronged approach to protect children against sexual abuse. On the one hand it aims to reach victims and their families with a message to speak out and denounce, to break the stigma and shame that surrounds this issue as a first step to seek help. At the same time, the initiative is an advocacy platform directed at policy makers, health workers and police authorities to create the protection and treatment services needed to support and care for the victims available. First launched in Trinidad and Tobago in 2010 by the Institute for Gender and Development Studies at the University of West Indies, the Break the Silence Initiative will be rolled-out by UNICEF and partners in several countries and territories across the region. For more information on the Break the Silence Initiative, please visit the UNICEF website.
The blue teddy symbol and tag line have been used on lapel pins, T-shirts, banners, handouts, pencils, bumper stickers, other stickers, posters, community signs, painted and digital billboards, online on Facebook, YouTube and on websites.
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The blue teddy symbol emerged from a three-year action research project, on issues surrounding child sexual abuse, incest and the implications for HIV/AIDS. The project titled “Breaking the Silence: A Multi-Sectoral Approach to Preventing and Addressing Child Sexual Abuse in Trinidad and Tobago; with a special emphasis on incest, began in 2008. The project is based at the Institute for Gender and Development Studies (IGDS), The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. It has been executed and achieved in collaboration with: the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CADV); Arts in Action (AiA), the Department of Creative and Festival Arts, The UWI; The Caribbean Health Research Council (CHRC); Toco Foundation; and the Citizens Security Programme, Ministry of National Security. The research project has been made possible in partnership with and funded by UNICEF, The United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women, administered by and on behalf of the UN system, now called UN Women.