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Acting Superintendent Gender Based Violence Unit Claire Guy-Alleyne.

Nekisha Alexander

Superintendent Claire Guy-Alleyne of the Child Protection Unit (CPU)

Guy-Alleyne has said that there is an increase in charges of people suspected of abusing children, as her units have embarked on a robust zero-tolerance campaign against cases of violence and sexual assaults.

Guy-Alleyne said yesterday that for the first six months of this year, 1,016 cases of sexual abuse were reported to the CPU with 86 offenders being charged.

She noted that while the pandemic has impacted the manpower at her unit, the modern policing approach to reporting cases via the TTPS app and online reports have helped.

She said that supporting laws have given a boost to the fight against crime as well, adding that a multi-faceted and holistic approach is needed to address cases of abuse against children.

The CPU head added that the issue of mental health also needs to be seriously addressed when it relates to violence and sexual abuse. She said a mindset change is needed and urged those with issues or urges to seek help at the numerous mental health clinics across T&T.

Team Lead for the Investigation and Intervention Unit of the Children’s Authority Marlon Bascombe also noted that there has been an increase in cases of abuse reaching the Authority.

He made the comment while speaking on The Morning Brew with Jason ‘JW’ Williams yesterday.

Bascome noted that while sexual abuse was in the forefront due to an increase in charges laid, there is actually an increase in emotional abuse and neglect.

Bascombe said parents need to pay extra attention to children during this time and look for changes in behaviour. He added that parents need to have an open line of communication with children so they can relate incidents of abuse.

Newspaper articles over the last couple of weeks reflect daunting cases of sexual assault against minors.

Among them, “Two men in court charged with sexually touching 11-year-old nieces”, “Man, 72, charged with 14 counts of sexual penetration of girl, 16”, “Man, 50, charged with sexually touching stepdaughter, 15”, and “34-year-old man charged with sexual offences against a minor.”

Statistics held by the Children’s Authority and police show that more than 90 per cent of children who are victims of sexual abuse, know their abuser.

Incidents of abuse can be reported to the Children’s Authority at 996 or 800- 2014 or to the Police at 999.