The Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has expressed concern over the level of physical abuse meted out to the nation's children.
Responding to a recent incident in which a woman appeared before the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court charged with beating a ten-year-old girl with a belt, the Children's Authority called on parents and caregivers to use alternative forms of discipline.
The Authority stated that there were 222 cases of abuse being investigated, based on calls received through its hotline. Physical abuse was identified as the second highest type of abuse.
"The Authority will advocate for parents to use alternative forms of discipline and will soon collaborate with its key stakeholders to launch targeted programmes for parents and other caregivers.
Through the Authority’s investigation of cases, we recognise that parents and caregivers are under extreme stress and have little support.
The programmes will therefore, help parents and caregivers identify the stressors that lead them to choose inappropriate ways of disciplining children, as well as help them to develop skills to deal with undesirable behaviour," the Authority stated.
Last week, Marisa Ellis, appeared before deputy chief Magistrate Mark Wellington charged with beating a ten-year-old girl with a belt.
Defence attorney Subhas Panday said his client was disciplining the child, not abusing her, and recalled the days when he himself was beaten.
Ellis, 25, who is unemployed, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
It was alleged that on May 27, at La Romaine, being a person responsible for the girl, she wilfully assaulted her occasioning actual bodily harm.
Ellis was placed on $20,000 bail with a cash alternative of $7,500.
The case was transferred to the Fourth Court for July 21.