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Bahamas: Psychiatrist On ‘Hidden Epidemic Wreaking Havoc’ In Bahamas

EARLY childhood abuse is linked to violence and murder in teenage years, noted psychiatrist Dr David Allen said yesterday, adding this “hidden epidemic” is “wreaking havoc” in the country.

Dr Allen spoke of the link with childhood trauma and violence as the Ministry of National Security launched the Advisory Council on Crime, an organisation which will provide a holistic, evidence-based approach to tackling crime. The council will be chaired by Dr Allen, founder of The Family: People Helping People.

At a press conference to announce the launch yesterday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames referenced a study by Dr Allen and Director of Research Keva Bethel, which found a correlation to perpetrators being victims of crime themselves.

Of these findings, Dr Allen said: “We’ve found there’s a powerful connection between early childhood sexual abuse and late teenage year murders… If a kid is abused sexually, between one and seven years-old, they have a high rate of violent crimes in the late teenage years, early 20s.

“If you look at our murder rate, the average age of Bahamian murderers is between 16 and 24. I am convinced through my work in The Family, around the country, that it’s a hidden epidemic, that we’re not paying attention to early childhood sexual abuse, incest and that’s wreaking havoc on our country. The new theory isn’t ‘what have you done’, but ‘what happened to you?’ We now believe that people who are traumatised continue producing trauma.”

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