PORT OF SPAIN – The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago says it is saddened at the death of a 15-month-old baby who had also been sexually assaulted and urged parents not to let their guard down in ensuring the safety of children.
“While all children are vulnerable to abuse, infants and young children are particularly at risk, as they are unable to defend themselves or to effectively communicate if they are being maltreated.
“The Authority encourages parents and guardians to ensure their children are left in the care of a responsible and trusted adult. However, it is important to note that perpetrators of abuse are usually known to children, and can be both adults and other children,” the Authority said in a statement.
Police are questioning a 17-year-old boy after an autopsy found that the 15-month-old baby had been killed as a result of blunt force trauma to the back, spine and head. The baby had also been raped.
Police said that the child, Acquel George, had been left in the care of the 17-year-old relative on Wednesday and when the mother, Charlene George, a member of the Special Reserve Police, returned to her south Trinidad home, found the baby girl unresponsive.
The Children’s Authority said that the data it has collected from reports received over a two-year period, showed that over 78 per cent of the persons identified as perpetrators of child abuse, are either parents or close relatives.
“The Authority notes that in some cases, despite diligent efforts to ensure appropriate supervision and care of children, acts of child abuse and maltreatment may be unexpected from a trusted caregiver.
“Parents and guardians are reminded to be vigilant, do not let their guard down, and to trust their instincts in keeping children safe from abuse,” the Authority said, listing a number of precautions to be taken by parents and guardians when determining in whose care and supervision to leave their child.
“It is critical for parents and guardians to observe interactions between their child and the caregiver, as well as any physical changes in the child (such as) marks or redness on body; discharges when bathing or changing young children, pain or discomfort in any body part especially genitals,” the Authority added. (CMC)