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Childrens Authority: Women abuse their children

Thursday, June 4 2015

Director of the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (CATT) Sharifa Ali-abdullah yesterday revealed mothers were commonly identified as the person most responsible for abuse against children.

Sixty-one percent of mothers were identified as the main perpetrator in cases of neglect, and 41.1 percent in cases of physical abuse. Fathers were 21.1 percent responsible, stepfathers 10.6 percent and others 14.6 percent.

Ali-Abdullah revealed these statistics at the formal opening of the Children’s Authority Assessment Centre, yesterday, at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.

She said according to CATT’s investigations, child abuse was predominant in areas of San Juan/Laventille, Caroni and Sangre Grande.

Ali-Abdullah said this was all part of our family structure and cultural attitudes in raising children.

“We have to find ways as to how to get women to better take care of their families,” she said.

The director said CATT needed more resources to get all the sectors up and running.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar assured Ali-Abdullah that Government would work with CATT to provide the resources they needed.

“We will have to take resources from elsewhere. While our population statistics tell us that out of 1.3 million people in our country, only 13 percent are over the age of 60; 45 percent are under the age of 30; 351,622 persons are under 18 and they fall in the definition, according to the law, as being a child. Out of that figure 112,723 are under age five,” she said.

The Prime Minister said while mothers have been identified as the persons most responsible for the abuse and the neglect of children, that data may be qualitative data rather than quantitative.

“Therefore we would have to dig further to get the empirical data that is quantitative to see if it is correct. The first person the child identifies with in the home is mother, the first thing that goes wrong is mother, but that may not necessarily be the case in reality, so I will be very happy to see your results,” she said.

However, Persad-Bissessar said she did recognise that there was a problem with the mothers in the country, hence the $500 Baby Care Grant.

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