Trinidad Express / The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago says it continues to record a spike in reports of abuse following the closure of schools for holidays like Christmas, Easter and July-August.

“While the Authority encourages parents and guardians to ensure their children are left in the care of a responsible and trusted adult, it is important to note that perpetrators of abuse are usually known to children”, the Authority said in a statement issued on Friday.

“Therefore, children should be encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings so that they feel comfortable disclosing any incidents of abuse or inappropriate situations.

With respect to teenagers, they should not be left to wander alone through Malls and shopping areas, as they can be easily targeted”.

The Authority is reminding parents and guardians to observe the following to ensure their children’s safety:

Enforce reasonable curfew for teenagers to prevent night time danger Be aware of your child’s online activities Get to know the adults and other children with whom your child interacts and carefully observe these relationships Be wary of “one on one” time that children might be spending with any adult, including a family member Do not serve alcoholic beverages to children Be wary of physical changes in your children (e.g. marks or redness on body; discharges when bathing or changing young children, pain or discomfort in any body part especially genitals) Know some of the non-physical signs of child abuse – depression, fear or avoidance of a certain adult or place, difficulty trusting others or making friends, sudden changes in eating or sleeping patterns, bedwetting, nightmares, inappropriate sexual behaviour, poor hygiene, secrecy, and hostility The public is reminded that child protection is everyone’s business, therefore, all suspicions or incidents of abuse should be reported to the Police at 999 or to the Authority’s hotlines at 996 or 800-2014. Follow us on Facebook for more tips.

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