THE Children’s Authority has received over 415 reports of child abuse in Tobago for May 2015-July 2018, according to chairman of the Children’s Authority Hanif Benjamin.
Benjamin was addressing a small audience at the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development to witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the division and the authority yesterday.
The MOU, he said, is a step in the right direction as the agencies seek to provide co-ordinated and seamless services to vulnerable children and their families in Tobago. “The reports of suspected child abuse in Tobago from May 2015 to July 2018 totals just over 415 cases. However,” he cautioned, “let me hasten to add the figure represents only reported cases to our hotline, and may actually be much higher. It is alarming, and it is a constant reminder that our children are at risk and need our protection.
In 2015, the authority was given wide-ranging power to protect children from maltreatment and to promote their wellbeing and development.
“Through the reports we received to our hotline, the highest report in cases of child abuse and maltreatment continues to be sad as sexual abuse, physical abuse and neglect,” he said.
He said the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child identifies a list of things that every child should have and be able to do. These, he said, include protection from harm, receiving the best possible healthcare, good quality education and being free from sexually abused, adding that for children to achieve their full potential there must be a partnership approach among those in positions of authority.