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Trinidad and Tobago has disturbing problem of child cruelty

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM

PORT OF SPAIN (CMC)

The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago yesterday said "there is an acute and disturbing problem of child cruelty" in the country as police continue investigations into allegations that a 14 month old baby girl had been sexually assaulted.

The Authority said it is working with the Child Protection Unit of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service "to provide support services to the baby and her family" and that it is treating the matter "with the sensitivity and confidentiality it deserves.

"The Authority also commends the baby's observant grandmother for bringing the matter to the attention of the police. Since child abuse often occurs in the home, it is important for everyone to be aware that they have a responsibility to protect children," the Authority said in a statement.

Police said on Sunday, a 20-year-old man had gotten into an argument with his 23-year-old girlfriend which became physical and the man making certain allegations, citing the woman's behaviour as the reason he sexually assaulted the child.

The Authority said that its Emergency Response Team was called out to rescue two other children who were sexually abused and that the children are now in its care and receiving the necessary support.

The Authority said that it was urging people to become more aware of the signs of child abuse, and urging the population "to report any sign or suspicion of child abuse to the Police or to the Authority's hotlines".