Children’s Authority calls on the public to report suspected child abuse
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CA) is once again appealing to the public to report cases of child abuse by calling its hotline 996 or 800-2014.
In the first three months of operations, the Authority has received over 1300 reports - in other words, the Authority has received more reports in three months than any other state agency would have recorded for all of last year. We are encouraged by the response of the public and continue to remind all that child protection is everybody’s business including, family, friends and neighbours.
The Children’s Authority to assess children following their mother’s suicide
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago extends condolences to the family of Sherry Ann Seecharan who committed suicide yesterday. The Authority has sent a team of specialists to provide support for the well-being of the woman’s children.
The team comprises a trauma specialist, social worker and a psychologist who will provide therapeutic and psycho-social support for the children in coping with their loss.
Children’s Authority appeals to adults to do more to safeguard children
The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago is horrified by recent media reports of a child who was fatally shot in Diego Martin and extends condolences to the child’s family.
Although the Authority did not receive a report about the incident, its Emergency Response Team has been in contact with the police. The Authority’s staff is on standby to provide support to the children who were involved in the incident.
The Authority endorses the Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development’s reminder about the significant penalties in the recently proclaimed Children Act 2012 for a person who fails to take reasonable precautions to guard against a child having access to arms and ammunition and suffers injury or death or causes serious or grievous bodily harm to another person.
The Authority is once again appealing to parents and guardians to supervise their children and be extremely vigilant in ensuring the safety of their children, especially during the school holiday.
Tips on child protection during the July / August vacation
Protection from child abuse, maltreatment and neglect
- Get to know the adults and other children that your children interact with. Observe their relationships.
- Be wary of “one on one” time that children might be spending with adults.
- Don’t allow sleep-overs unless you know the family well and have visited the home on several occasions.
- Ensure your children are supervised at all times.
- Teach your children the correct names of their body parts so that they can express concerns and ask questions about them.
- Encourage your children to inform you or a trusted responsible adult if someone is touching them inappropriately.
- Talk to children about what is an ok touch, that is one that makes them feel happy and safe, a not ok touch, that is one that hurts or makes them feel uncomfortable.
- Inform children to never keep inappropriate touching a secret or any secrets in general.
- Ensure that your children know they can express themselves freely and say “no”, strongly and forcefully to adults if they feel uncomfortable in any situation. It is their right.
- Talk to children about “stranger danger”. Teach then to avoid having a conversation with an adult they do not know unless a trusted adult is present. Even the newspaper lady or the man in the shop is a stranger although the child might see them every day.
- Watch out for adults who spend a lot of time with children instead of adults, buy children expensive gifts for no apparent reason, refuse children privacy or invade their privacy, make children feel uneasy or scared, insist on physical affection even when the child looks uncomfortable.
- Teach your children what to do if a stranger approaches them and offers to take them somewhere or give them something to eat. They should scream loudly and run away toward a large crowd of people and tell someone (preferably someone in uniform like a police officer) Yell. Run. Tell.
- Have a safe word to use in the event that you cannot meet your child and you send a responsible adult who knows the safe word. Ensure that children understand that they should not go anywhere with any person they don’t know.
- 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 etc.).
- 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 are often signs to pay attention to.
Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development holds parenting workshops - 'Come Build Your Parenting Skills'
- Children’s Authority urges parents and guardians to find alternative forms of discipline
- Children’s Authority calls on parents to be vigilant during vacation, given high levels of child abuse
- Children’s Authority holds adoption sensitisation session: families express hope
- Children's Authority operational