“Since May 22, the Child Protection Unit has received over 1,000 reports and after investigations we have a total of 220 cases currently before the criminal courts,” said Supt Quesnel. She told reporters that the role and function of the Child Protection Unit is to investigate matters of sexual offences or abuse, physical abuse, abandonment, neglect and ill treatment of children.
Through the Children’s Authority, the Child Protection Unit is mandated to engage in a collaborative relationship to ensure the care and protection of the nation’s children.
Quesnel said the Children’s Authority is responsible for engaging in psycho-social interventions, which assist the child to maintain a sense of stability in their lives. Simultaneously the Child Protection Unit is responsible for investigating the criminal aspect of such reports perpetrated against children.
“Upon reports being made to the Police, the Children’s Authority is immediately informed, the child is medically examined and statements are recorded. If the child is in imminent danger, the Children’s Authority has the responsibility to remove the child and have him or her placed in a safe environment while the police continue the criminal aspect of investigations,” Quesnel said. Quesnel reminded the public that the age of consent is now 18 years and over and not 16 years and over, as before.
She added that the public should remember that sexual penetration for sexual gratification does not only refer to rape or buggery but refers to penetration of all bodily orifices of a child inclusive of the child’s nose, mouth and ears.