Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 3rd 2016 Contents NO
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Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt July 3, 2016
There is a noticeable increase in
reports of child abuse during school
breaks and parents should be even
more vigilant during the July/August
This advice comes from Senior
Superintendent Odette Lewis, head of
the Child Protection Unit in the T&T
Police Service. She also advised parents
to do serious research and background
checks on the camps they may want
their children to attend.
Lewis, in an interview with the
Guardian last month, noted that while
reports of child abuse were spread
across T&T, the lack of supervision
during school breaks, created an
increase in the risk of abuse to children.
She advised that parents be cautious
with all potential caretakers of their
children, whether they be family mem-
bers, paid babysitters, or camps.
"The holidays are upon us and peo-
ple take parents to go by aunty and
uncles for holidays. Some people even
leave their children home unsupervised,
but either option can lead to a dan-
gerous situation," Lewis said.
"Whether it s a babysitter, a nursery
or a camp, parents have the respon-
sibility to do background checks to
ensure their children s safety. If you
are not sure, you can come to us, we
will check for you and give you advice
because there are a lot of people who
establish camps and facilities to take
care of children, who are questionable."
While Lewis did not have the sta-
tistics at hand, she said the unit had
identified that when school was on
vacation, reports of violence and sexual
abuse of children were higher.
"Parents may send their child to a
relative if they aren t able to afford a
babysitter, thinking this is a safer
option, but it is sometimes a case where
that relative has friends around who
interfere with the child."
She advised parents to discuss
appropriate touches with their children
and to look for the warning signs of
"Pay attention to your child s behav-
iour. Children tend to become with-
drawn after traumatic experiences and
may get quiet or drastically change
Lewis also advised parents to get
their children involved with the Police
Youth Club as she said it teaches pos-
Signs of abuse
Several resources provide signs and
symptoms of abuse. These signs and
symptoms were compiled using infor-
mation from the World Health Organ-
ization and the Mayo Clinic.
Physical abuse signs and symptoms
• Unexplained injuries, such as bruises, fractures
• Injuries that don t match the given explana-
• Untreated medical or dental problems.
• Sexual abuse signs and symptoms
• Sexual behaviour or knowledge that s inappro-
priate for the child s age.
• Blood in the child s underwear.
• Statements that he or she was sexually abused
• Trouble walking or sitting or complaints of gen-
• Abuse of other children sexually.
Emotional abuse signs and symptoms
• Delayed or inappropriate emotional development.
• Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem.
• Headaches or stomach aches with no medical
• Avoidance of certain situations, such as refusing
to go to school or ride the bus.
• Desperately seeks affection.
• A decrease in school performance or loss of
interest in school.
• Loss of previously acquired developmental skills
Neglect signs and symptoms
• Poor growth or weight gain.
• Poor hygiene.
• Lack of clothing or supplies to meet physical
• Taking food or money without permission.
• Eating a lot in one sitting or hiding food for
• Poor record of school attendance.
• Lack of appropriate attention for medical, dental
or psychological problems or lack of necessary
• Emotional swings that are inappropriate or out
of context to the situation.
Be more vigilant during school vacation
Child Protection Unit urges parents:
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