Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/ Talparo Regional Corporation Henry Awong said he was alarmed by the findings of the latest report of the Children's Authority which has identified his region as being one of three with the highest number of sexually abused children.
And two Members of Parliament for Couva North and South, Ramona Ramdial and Rudy Indarsingh, also expressed alarm over the statistics and called on the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services to provide counselling and support for the children and their families.
Ramdial also called for stricter penalties and punishment for the offenders.She said the Children's Authority, which became effective under the former People's Partnership administration, has encouraged reporting by both parents and victims themselves.
"But more needs to be done. It is a terrible state of affairs for our children. These high number of cases continues to be worrying. Definitely more needs to be done, especially in dealing with broken families. More counselling, stricter penalties and punishment."
Indarsingh said he was saddened by the report and appealed to Prime Minister Keith Rowley not to place the protection, care and rehabilitation of the nation's children on the back burner.
Saying the abuse has the ability to disrupt the functioning of that child for the rest of his/her life, Indarsingh advocated for the The Children's Authority to be given all tools and resources to tackle this serious issue of child abuse.
A report compiled by the Authority over a nine-month period, May 18, last year to Feb 17, showed some 1,000 boys and girls, from ages one and upwards, were sexually abused.
The highest reports of sexual abuse against children were recorded in the districts of San Juan/Laventille (17.4 per cent) Tunapuna/Piarco ( 13.3 per cent) and CTTRC (9.6 per cent).
"That is alarming and frightening. It is 1,000 cases you are talking about in nine months. I am sure there may be more, probably not reported," Awong said.He noted councillors through their interaction with the community would have had unconfirmed reports of what was happening but not to that extent.
Awong said any information relating to suspicion of child abuse is reported to the relevant authorities.