Women's network satisfied with increased fines for cruelty towards children

The International Women's Resource Network is welcoming the measures in the Budget that in relation to the increase in fines for cruelty to children.

The IWRN issued its views on the Budget on Tuesday.

"The International Women's Resource Network (IWRN) is expressing relief and gratitude at the government’s decision to increase all fines in connection with cruelty to children under the Children’s Act.

The organization has been making pleas to the authorities to urgently review these penalties and fines with a view to deterring child offenders in light of the alarming rate of cruelty to children and in particular sexual offences. 

Based on the figures quoted by the Minister, during the period May 18th, 2015 to April 30th, 2018, 14,581 cases of child abuse were reported to the Children’s Authority, and of that amount, 415 reports were made in Tobago.

The IWRN considers this decision as a step in the right direction if as a country we are serious about safeguarding the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society.

Continuously reporting the statistics is extremely painful particularly when our current circumstances do not provide any sustainable solutions to this plague.

As recent as last week, it was reported that the Child Protection Unit of the TTPS is actively investigating cases in which at least 25 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 are pregnant after being sexually assaulted and these are cases which the police are aware of.

The organization further warns that supporting the government in this move also requires extra vigilance by those in whom the safety of minors is entrusted; it is extremely unfortunate that in at least 85% of reported cases, the offenders are closest to the victims, and therefore, the issue of broken trust must be factored into the national conversation around protecting minors.

The IWRN is today pleading with adults who at any time may feel compelled to hurt minors, to urgently seek medical assistance.

Children must also be taught the concept of “good touch, bad touch” to be able to urgently report incidents of abuse as they occur."