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Wandering a problem, says Magistrate

CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Wandering a problem, says Magistrate

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More children in Barbados are charged with wandering than with drug possession, burglary, grievous bodily harm, rape, robbery or theft.
However, the number of children, mainly girls, charged with wandering, fell second to those accused of assault.
Senior Superintendent of Police of the Southern Division, Eucklyn Thompson, said that while 123 children were charged with assault between 2008 and last year, 55 were charged with wandering during the same period.
Between 2008 and 2012, 24 children were charged with grievous bodily harm; 21 for burglary; seven for rape; six for robbery; five for theft from the person; 36 for other thefts such as finding property and taking it and not returning it to the owner; and 27 for drug possession.
Thompson revealed these statistics recently during the annual 11-Plus programme entitled: In the Winners’ Circle: Making The Right Choice, which was hosted by the National Task Force on Crime Prevention and Magistrate Barbara Cooke-Alleyne, to target children preparing to enter secondary school. It was held at the Christ Church Parish Church Centre.
Speaking during an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Cooke-Alleyne also confirmed that wandering was very prevalent in Barbados, mainly among girls.
She explained that wandering was a crime that only children between the ages of 11 and 15 could commit, and involved them being somewhere without permission.
“They [the child] left home for school and never got there that day. That is wandering. A parent saying, ‘No, you can’t go to a calvacade or a fete’, and you went there, that is wandering. It is going someplace without proper guardianship and permission.”
She said the offence was more prevalent among girls, with some opting to leave home because of what was happening there. For example, they might be sexually abused, or exposed to sex at an early age and leave home to continue in their sexual activities.
In the case of the boys, however, the main reasons for leaving home were usually gambling, cock-fighting and a small percentage involved in sexual activity with older females or males.
The magistrate added that children needed to know they could and would be charged for leaving home without their parents’ permission, or without them knowing where they were going.