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4,158 minors under ‘protection’

By Sasha Harrinanan Tuesday, March 1 2016

THOUSANDS of girls and boys, 4,158 to be exact, have been in need of care and protection from the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (the Authority) while more than 300 children have had to be “rescued” in the nine months since the Authority opened its doors on May 18, 2015.

Those 4,158 cases are the highest number of cases reported in the country’s history, and works out to an average of 462 cases per month, or 115.5 per week, between May 18, 2015 and February 17, 2016.

“The highest categories of child protection issues are sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and children lacking care and guardianship,” the Authority said.

It also said, “the figure is an indication of the public heeding the call to report child abuse, which has led to children being brought to its attention.” However details of the types of abuse reported and demographic information about the children was not included yesterday’s (Monday) statement from the Authority.

Those details will be disseminated “later this week”, likely on Friday (March 4), via a Statistical Report on its first nine months in operation.

Something which the Authority expects the release of this report “will inform immediate policy interventions.” Referring to the fact that more than 300 children had to be rescued by its Emergency Response Team in just nine months, the Authority said this is “a chilling reality of how poorly we are doing as a society to protect the most vulnerable.” Another major concern is the “major challenge” of placement of children, particularly those with special needs. The Authority also announced that it will “soon be rolling out its National Protocol on Reporting and Investigating Child Abuse” so that the public can understand the roles of the various agencies involved in the child protection sector. Declaring that protecting children is everyone’s business, the Authority reminded that persons can call 996 or 800-2014 to report all incidents or suspicions of child abuse.



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