Media Releases

The public is warned that child pornography is an offence

Date: 2016-06-15

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is calling on parents and children to be careful about the images they post to social media.

This follows reports that child pornography is being shared and viewed locally via the internet and on social media.

The Authority is advising the public that it is an offence to obtain, publish, distribute or purchase child pornography.

According to the Children Act, 2012, "child pornography means a photograph, film, video or other visual representation, whether or not made by electronic, mechanical, artistic or other methods, that shows, for a sexual purpose –

  1. A child engaging in explicit sexual activity or conduct;
  2. A child in a sexually explicit pose;
  3. Parts of a child's body pasted to visual representations of parts of an adult's body or vice versa; or
  4. Parts of a child's body which have been rendered complete by computer generated images or by other methods of visual representation.

The Authority notes that the Police are investigating the matter and is urging the public to immediately report anyone who is found to be in possession of, or who distributes child pornography.

Children’s Authority takes steps to protect child following allegations of abuse

Date: 2016-06-04

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is currently engaged in investigating alleged reports of sexual abuse of a nine-year-old boy.

Following the report, the Authority took steps to ensure the safety of the child and the matter is being treated with the sensitivity and confidentiality which it requires.

Children’s Authority provides support to children found in imminent danger

Date: 2016-05-18

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is once again appealing to parents to be extremely vigilant in ensuring the safety of their children and to report all incidents or suspicions of child abuse.

The call comes in light of media reports of two children who were rescued yesterday.

The Authority's Emergency Response Team visited the family last evening and provided support to the children and their mother.

The Authority is continuing to provide the necessary counselling and other interventions, given the traumatic experience.

As the Authority marks its first Anniversary, Director, Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, says "as we commemorate our Anniversary today our hearts remain heavy and burdened with the number and horrific cases we deal with but this is really the best opportunity children have ever had in this country to be protected".

Recently, the Authority released its Sexual Abuse Report which indicated that 1 in 5 of all reports received by the Authority was categorised as sexual abuse.

The Authority reminds that child protection is everyone's business and reports of abuse should be made to 996 or 800-2014.

The Children’s Authority calls for national discussion on changing attitudes towards children and child abuse

Date: 2016-05-09

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago extends condolences to the family of two- year-old Jacob Antonio Bastaldo who died at the weekend. While no report on this incident was made to the Authority and the exact cause of death is still to be confirmed, there are concerns of alleged abuse due to marks of violence found on the child's body.

In the Authority's Nine Months and Counting Statistical Bulletin, physical abuse represented the third leading category of abuse reported. Although Section 4 of the Children Act 2012 permits only parents (and guardians) to apply 'reasonable' corporal punishment of children while forbidding its use by anyone else, the reports of physical abuse against children are often far outside anything permissible.

During the nine month period, May 18, 2015 to February 17, 2016, the Authority received approximately 100 reports of children between the ages of 0-3 years who were physically abused.
As a result, the Authority is again appealing to parents and guardians to find more creative and effective ways of disciplining children. The Authority recognises that some parents and guardians are under extreme stress, have little support and may resort to corporal punishment. However, research shows that corporal punishment teaches children that hitting is an acceptable response to anger. It is therefore necessary to teach our children how to manage anger without violence.
Meanwhile, the Authority has intervened in the case of a 14-year old girl who recently gave birth at hospital. When the Authority received the report, its Emergency Response Team was dispatched to visit the child and her baby. The Authority is providing the necessary psychosocial support and counselling to the teen mother. Respecting the sensitivity and confidentiality required in dealing with the matter, the Authority can advise that both children are healthy and in a safe place.

The Authority is again calling on parents and guardians to be vigilant with their children, due to the increasing number of child sexual abuse reports. To date, of the 1,000 cases of sexual abuse reported to the Authority, 142 children were in sexual relationships with adult men, with 61 of them becoming pregnant or have had a child.

The Authority is of the view that this trend must not be allowed to continue and discussions must begin to change public attitude towards children, their rights and the need to end child abuse.

Children's Authority advises the President of Single Fathers' Association to direct his concerns to the Police

Date: 2016-04-23

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago categorically denies the allegations made by Mr. Rhondall Feeles, President of the Single Fathers' Association that it has acted inappropriately in discharging its duties.

In fact the Authority is of the view that Mr. Feeles should direct his concerns regarding the arrest of a father, to the Police. In light of his continued allegations, the Authority believes it is necessary to state the facts, which are as follows:

  1. The child was not removed by the Children's Authority but by the Police under section 45 of the Children Act, 2012.
  2. The Authority has had communications with the father, providing information about the well-being of his child while the police investigations were being conducted.
  3. Given that the other children would have been alone upon the arrest of the father; the Police requested that the Authority receive the children into care, in accordance with Section 22 of the Children's Authority Act. The Authority, therefore, had no option but to receive the two children into care.
  4. The Authority's Emergency Response Team facilitated the removal of the other two children and ensured that they were settled and will continue to follow up with counselling and support for the child who is due to write the SEA exam.
  5. The Authority does not conduct criminal investigations. The Police are responsible for criminal investigations. The Police investigations are independent of the Authority and the Authority cannot interfere with Police investigations.

The Authority remains committed to protecting children, as it is mandated to do.