ALARMED by the surge in reports of missing children being made to the police, the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago has issued an appeal to parents to adopt safety measures ahead of Carnival.
In a news release yesterday, it stated children who run away from home are at risk of being exposed to physical and sexual abuse from perpetrators who would have increased access and opportunity.
The authority said parents and guardians need to know the whereabouts of the children and should ensure they are supervised at all times by a trusted adult.
It advised that parents and guardians need to have open communication with children, which would allow children to feel comfortable to report any incidents that may arise.
The authority listed several tips to be observed:
• Set boundaries about places children may go and enforce them;
• Encourage children to check in frequently when they are not at home;
• Monitor closely social media and cellphone activity;
• Observe changes in your child’s behaviour which may reveal signs of abuse;
• Know your children’s friends and observe any new influences which may affect their behaviour;
• Older children should not be given the responsibility to supervise younger ones;
• When attending Carnival activities, provide young children with identification cards bearing their name, name of parent/guardian, address and telephone number (this should be placed on their person—eg, pocket, pinned under shirt or around the wrist);
• Do not serve alcoholic beverages to children;
• If children are attending camps, be aware of the adults supervising them, their contact information and request the itinerary of events;
• Monitor children at all times when at the beach or by the river. Never allow a child to go into the water alone;
• Regardless of age, parents and guardians should talk to children about safety rules.
The public is being advised they should report incidents of child abuse to the police or contact the Children’s Authority at 996 or 800-2014.