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Children’s Authority steps in to rescue girl, 8, from home
The Children’s Authority of T&T has come to the rescue of an eight-year-old girl who sources allege is the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a male relative.
The reports were highlighted exclusively by the online T&T Guardian on Wednesday. A source close to the family, who requested anonymity, said the girl is exposed to pornography, prostitution and sexual debauchery by a male relative. However, although a report was made to the Children’s Authority on January 14, the source claimed no action was immediately taken.
But in a statement yesterday, the authority’s communications manager, Cheryl Moses-Williams, denied the authority failed to respond to the report. Admitting that initial reports were made to its Hotline about the child, Moses-Williams said that report “did not identify any concerns of child sexual abuse.”
“Once that concern was identified following receipt of a media report yesterday, the Authority’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) was dispatched to investigate the new allegations made to the media,” Moses-Williams said.
“Under the Children Act, 2012, the Authority is mandated to investigate all reports of abuse. Once a report of child abuse or mistreatment is brought to the Authority’s attention, the investigation process is initiated to substantiate or not substantiate the allegations with a view to determining whether the child is in need of care and protection and what interventions would be appropriate in the child’s best interest,” she said.
Last night, the source who highlighted the girl’s plight said they were grateful something was being done to help the child. The informant said the child had been begging to leave the house she occupies with her grandmother and the male relative.
“The child goes down on her knees and begs to be taken out of there, but I am not her guardian so I cannot take her,” the source said.
Explaining that the girl was abandoned by her mother in 2009 shortly after her birth, the source added, “(Name called) doesn’t come to check the child at all. She and her husband does not consider her as their daughter because she is mixed so they just left her there with the grandmother and went on with their lives.”
The source also said another teenager who lives nearby is a prostitute and has been indoctrinating the eight-year-old to a life of sex and debauchery.
RADHICA DE SILVA