SINCE May 2015, 552 people have been charged for offences against children, under the Children’s Act. This was revealed at the police’s weekly press briefing yesterday at Police Administration building in Port of Spain.
Sgt Michelle Lewis, of the Child Protection Unit, Port of Spain Division, said that of the 552 persons charged, 73 were charged in 2015; 184 in 2016; 289 in 2017 and six people have been charged so far this year.
In noting a high percentage of sexual penetration of a child and sexual touching of a child, Lewis disclosed that in 2015, there were 98 sexual offences committed against minors of which 61 involved sexual penetration and 28 involved sexual touching. In 2016, of the 370 charges of sexual assault, 199 involved sexual penetration and 69 involved sexual touching.
In 2017, of 406 charges, 244 involved sexual penetration and 78, sexual touching and of the 50 charges thus far this year, 30 involved sexual penetration and 19 sexual touching.
Later during the press briefing, Sgt Lewis pointed to an unsettling trend emerging in custody disputes, whereby children are being coached to make unfounded allegations against one of the parties involved in the custody dispute. The CPU is then required to divert limited resources to investigate these allegations, instead of focusing on genuine cases of abuse against children.