Sexual Grooming is a Crime
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is advising parents and guardians to be aware that sexual grooming is a reality and a crime. Sexual grooming occurs when an adult befriends a child by building a close relationship in order to gain the child’s trust, with the intention of later engaging the child in sexual activity.
According to the Children Act, 2012, the person who commits such an offence is liable “to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for ten years or on conviction on indictment, to a fine of one hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twenty years.
Parents and guardians are advised to get to know the adults with whom their child interacts whether it is in person or online. They should also pay attention to adults who give unwarranted gifts or want to spend time alone with a child. Children should also be taught not to give out personal information online.
If a parent or guardian suspects sexual grooming, they should take the evidence and any information about the alleged perpetrator to the Police and report the matter to the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.
The Authority reminds the public that child protection is everyone’s business, therefore, we all have a role to protect children from perpetrators of abuse and nurture children in an environment that encourages their development.
Court rules in favour of the Children’s Authority
The claim filed by former Attorney General Anand Ramlogan S.C. against the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, alleging that a child is being accommodated in circumstances that amount to solitary confinement, cruel and unusual punishment, and in breach of the child’s constitutional rights, was dismissed yesterday (July 26th, 2017) by Justice Vasheist Kokaram in the Civil High Court.
The Court determined it is satisfied that the welfare of the child has been met, since the child has been in the Authority’s care.
The Authority assures the public that it will continue to work in the best interest of children.
Parents Be Alert!
Parents and caregivers are advised that it is dangerous to leave children unattended in places and with people whom they may consider harmless.
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is issuing the advice, as children begin their long vacation period.
The Authority notes that perpetrators of abuse tend to frequent places where they can have easy access to children. As such, the Authority is urging parents and caregivers to pay close attention to the adults their children interact with and to keep an open line of communication with children, so that they feel comfortable informing them of any inappropriate incidents.
Parents and guardians are also asked to allow their children to enjoy the holidays and not be placed with the burden of caring for their siblings. The Authority notes that too often unfortunate incidents take place when children are left to care for each other. The Authority advises that according to Section 4 of the Children Act, 2012, a person can also be charged with neglect for exposing a child “in a manner likely to cause that child suffering or injury to his physical, mental or emotional health”.
Meanwhile, the Authority commends members of the public who have highlighted cases of child abuse. It continues to urge citizens to report all incidents or suspicions of abuse to the Police at 999 or to the Authority’s hotline at 996 or 800-2014.
Children's Authority Appeals to the Media to be Sensitive and Responsible
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is concerned that there is erroneous information being circulated about the death of a child at its Child Support Centre, which can cause further trauma to the child’s family.
The Authority is therefore appealing to the media to ensure that their coverage on the issue is dealt with in a sensitive and responsible manner, which should also respect the privacy of the family.
Since the child’s death on Sunday 18th June, the Authority has been providing therapeutic support and counselling to the children at the Centre as well as staff.
The Authority continues to work with the child’s family during their loss.
The media are reminded that the Child Support Centre is a place of safety for children who are in need of care and protection. As a result, its location should not be divulged in order to maintain the safety of the children.
Children's Authority Saddened by Death of Child
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is deeply saddened by the unfortunate death of a child at our Child Support Centre.
At this time, the Authority is committed to the safety and well-being of the other children at the Centre and therapeutic support and counselling are being provided to the children as well as the staff at the Centre.
This situation is a reminder that despite consistent support and counselling, some of the children who are received into care are often troubled because they have undergone significant trauma.
The Authority is conducting investigations.