More than 4,000 children abused
PORT OF SPAIN (CMC)
The Children's Authority of Trinidad and Tobago said it is dealing with an estimated 4,158 cases of children in need of care and protection, nine months after it had been established.
"This is the highest number of cases to be reported in the country's history," the Authority said, adding that it will release its nine-month Statistical Report later this week, which will provide details of the types of abuse reported as well as demographic information, which it expects will inform immediate policy interventions.
The Authority said the report will also reveal that the highest categories of child-protection issues are sexual abuse, neglect, physical abuse and children lacking care and guardianship.
The Authority said that in its first nine months of operations, its Emergency Response Team rescued more than 300 children "a chilling reality of how poorly we are doing as a society to protect the most vulnerable.
"The Authority laments that placement for children remains a major challenge, particularly children with special needs," it said, adding that it will soon be rolling out its National Protocol on Reporting and Investigating Child Abuse to assist the public in understanding the roles of the various agencies involved in the child protection sector.
The Authority said it is continuing to appeal to parents and guardians to be extremely vigilant in ensuring the safety of their children and to report all incidents or suspicions of child abuse.