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Minister in Gender Ministry: Mothers cause of most child abuse

Thursday, January 9, 2014
Minister of Gender, Youth and Child Development Clifton De Coteau, left, permanent secretary Sandra Jones and Minister of State, Raziah Ahmed, present Advisory Council member and President of Inter-Religious Organisation, Harrypersad Maharaj, right, with his letter of appointment to the Advisory Council for the national strategic plan for child development at yesterday’s function. PHOTO: MARYANN AUGUSTE

The most common type of child abuse occurs between eight to ten and the mothers are the most common perpetrators. Making the statement yesterday was Minister in the Ministry of Gender, Youth and Child Development Raziah Ahmed at the distribution of appointment letters yesterday at the Waterfront Complex, Port-of-Spain, to members of the Advisory Council for the national strategic plan for child development.



Ahmed quoted statistics from a 2010 UNICEF report which, she said, also showed that even more alarming was that suicides were most prevalent between ten to 18 and that more attempted suicides occurred among females. “The study identified that the major causes of suicide or attempted suicides were low self-esteem, emotional abuse and inadequate levels of parent-child bonding,” she said.


General research, she added, had shown that the problem of child delinquency was related to inadequate child-rearing practices, home discord and child maltreatment. Specific tendencies that precipitated delinquency in boys between seven to 13 were a high level of parent-child conflict, poor monitoring habits in the family and a low level of positive involvement with parents, Ahmed said. She added: “The simultaneous existence of low-level monitoring and high levels of punishment by caregivers are a major driver to delinquency.


“Too often we turn a blind eye to the young pushers on the corner, the girls who frequent the malls in ‘less than or over-done consumes’ and the child vendors who ought to be in school.” Credit, however, must be given to the parents, institutions, such as churches and schools, which play an integral role in the proper upbringing of children, she said. 



“I salute those children and families who rise above various socio-economic trauma of single parenthood, divorce, poverty and psychosocial ills and who demonstrate positive emotional intelligence,” Ahmed added. Echoing her sentiments, Gender Minister Clifton De Coteau, said child development lay at the core of human development and the building of a strong citizenry. 



De Coteau said the Advisory Council was created to secure better developmental outcomes for children and families through effective policies, legislation and programmes.



Members of the advisory council

• Gaietry Pargass, (chairman) legal consultant, Gender Ministry.
• Mary Fullerton, chief executive officer of the ADHD Foundation.
• Nichol Alves, general manager T&T Autistic Society.
• Rima Mohammed, T&T Chamber of Commerce.
• Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, director Children’s Authority.
• Cheryl Lewis, department chair COSTAATT. 
Almarie Jacqure, director DRETCHI.
• Fitzherbert Glenn Niles, president Down Syndrome Family Network.
• Dionne Guischard, Families in Action.
Harrypersad Maharaj, IRO.
• Sharda Ramnarine, Kanhai Road Environmental, Sports, Culture Organisation.
Christine Ford, KIND.
• Shamla Maharaj, disability youth ambassador.
Zena Ramatali, president NPTA.
• Laura Davis, social worker.
Eric Lewis, president, St Vincent Ferrer Society.
Jawad Aslam, UNICEF.
• Karene Nathaniel de Caries, lecturer at UWI.
Tisha Nickening, project co-ordinator of Break the Silence. 
• Candice Wallace-Henry, child development specialist.
• Femi Williams, child development specialist.
• Denise Job, YMCA.
• Dionne Guischard, Families in Action.
• Danielle Ryan, National Centre for Persons with Disabilities


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