(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) – “DO NOT let your guard down, trust your instincts!”
This was the warning sent by the Children’s Authority to parents and guardians to ensure that their children were left in the care of responsible and trusted adults.
The warning comes on the heels of the brutal murder of a baby girl who was beaten at the hands of a teenage male relative at her Palo Seco home.
Last Wednesday, Sharlene George, 44, found her daughter, one-year-old Raquel, bleeding and lifeless in their home when she returned from work that night. Up to last night, the 17-year-old male relative was being held in police custody and was expected to be interviewed by investigators.
Yesterday, the Children’s Authority, in a press release signed by communications manager Cheryl Moses-Williams, said they shared in the public grief of the death of baby Raquel.
“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.”
Moses-Williams said data collected by the authority from reports received over a two year period, showed that over 78 per cent of the people identified as perpetrators of child abuse, were 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 care giver.”
She reminded parents and guardians to be vigilant and not let their guard down and trust their instincts in keeping children safe from abuse. “When determining in whose care and supervision to leave your child, parents and guardians should ensure that the person has experience caring for infants and young children.”
Moses-Williams urged parents to find out important details about an individual before placing their child in the individual’s care.
“Is this person patient and not easily angered or stressed by a fussy or crying infant? Will that person be watching only your child or a limited number of children, so that each child is given adequate attention?” She said parents should also find out if the caretaker was abusing drugs or alcohol.
The release added, “It is critical for parents and guardians to observe interactions between their child and the care giver, as well as any physical changes in the child (eg marks or redness on body; discharges when bathing or changing young children, pain or discomfort in any body part especially genitals).”
The authority also urged anyone with information on cases of child abuse to make a report to the police at 999 or to the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014.