Children’s Authority calls on parents to be vigilant during vacation, given high levels of child abuse
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is calling on parents and guardians, to make the school holiday period a safe one for their children.
The Authority notes that there is a higher incidence of abuse of children, particularly sexual abuse, during vacation periods, as children may be left unsupervised for longer periods of time, giving perpetrators more access and opportunity.
Research has shown that children whose parents talk to them about abuse are better equipped to protect themselves, since they can identify risky situations.
During the first six weeks of operations, 628 cases of varying types of abuse were reported to the Authority. This represents 64% of all cases reported to the Police for all of 2014. It also signifies that the problem is even more horrific than we anticipated. The three highest types of abuse reported have been sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect.
The Authority has been pleased with the response from the public, with a significant number of reports coming from concerned citizens, including neighbours.
A sensitisation programme for parents and guardians to be extremely vigilant, will be conducted through media engagements and with stakeholders in communities over the next few weeks, as the Authority works with partners to address the incidence of child abuse.
The public is reminded that preventing child abuse is everyone’s responsibility.
The Authority identifies some tips parents and guardians should observe:
- If unable to supervise children, leave them in the care of a responsible and trusted adult; and check in regularly on how your child is doing,
- Encourage your children to inform you or a trusted responsible adult if someone is touching them inappropriately,
- Limit the danger of Internet and social media by setting basic guidelines, such as when children go online, what sites they can visit, and regular check-ins to see and discuss the choices that are being made with technology.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development will be running parenting workshops and vacation camps across the country. The Children’s Authority is encouraging parents and guardians to register for the activities being organised by its line Ministry.