Child Abuse Can Be Prevented
Preventing child abuse requires collaboration. As a result the Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is appealing to communities and families to work together, to provide safe, stable, and nurturing environments that are free from abuse and neglect.
Data collected by the Authority from May 2015 to December 2016, reveals that physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect continue to be the highest reported types of child abuse. During that period the Authority received almost 9,000 reports of abuse.
As part of its continued public education campaign, the Authority is joining in the national recognition of Child Abuse Prevention Month. The Authority plans to bring awareness of the role communities and families play in preventing child abuse and neglect, by highlighting how families and communities can keep children safe from abuse.
With the upcoming Easter holidays, parents and caregivers are reminded to observe the following tips to prevent child abuse:
- Minimise Opportunity - Eliminate or reduce "one on one" situations, to lower the risk of abuse.Seek help when under stress to help you parent effectively because it's so easy to cross the line.
- Talk about it – Often times, children may feel ashamed to report incidents of abuse. It is important that parents and caregivers maintain open communication with children to allow them to feel comfortable to report any incidents or concerns they may have.
- Stay Alert - Be wary of physical changes in your children (e.g. marks or redness on body; discharges when bathing or changing young children, pain or discomfort in any body part especially genitals).
- Know the non-physical signs of child abuse. Depression, fear or avoidance of a certain adult or place, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, bedwetting, nightmares, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility.
- Talk to children about what is an "ok touch" - one that makes them feel happy and safe, and a touch that is "not ok" - one that hurts or makes them feel uncomfortable.
The Authority reminds the public that child protection is everyone's business, therefore, we all have a role to protect our children from perpetrators of abuse and nurture children in an environment that encourages their development.
All reports of abuse should be made to the Police at 999, the Authority's hotlines at 996 or 800-2014 or www.ttchildren.org