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New child abuse laws coming

By by Keino Swamber keino.swamber@trinidadexpress.com

MINISTER in the Ministry of the People and Social Development Dr Lincoln Douglas says his ministry is working assiduously to deliver a package of legislation this year which deals with the protection of children from sexual and other forms of abuse.

Douglas says included in the package is the long-awaited Children's Authority Act, 2000, which was amended in 2003 and was partially proclaimed.

He was speaking in Skinner Park, San Fernando, yesterday, at a march against child abuse, under the "Break the Silence" blue teddy campaign, an affiliate of the Institute of Gender and Developmental Studies.

"We (the ministry) endorse in a strong way the objectives and the purpose of this march, primarily because it deals with the most vulnerable of our population and, as we say in development, a nation is marked not so much by how much money it has, but by how we treat the most vulnerable in our population," Douglas said.

"Indeed, our children are one of the most vulnerable people in our society, and so we endorse the protection of our peoples and the future of our nation."

Douglas said child and sexual abuse represents the worst in humanity and the effects of such abuse are long-lasting.

"At present, we are working on advancing the Children's Authority and bringing that into being (by putting in place) the staff, the organisation, the policy framework and all the rules necessary to give teeth and power to an organisation to act on behalf of our children, whether it is physically removing them from danger, providing assistance or the laws to prosecute people.

"The Ministry of the People and Social Development is working on a series of legislation, from adoption, right on to protecting our children. We hope that by this year, we will have that legislation and the Children's Authority in place.

"This is very important for us in Trinidad and Tobago, in that our children will be protected from predators and from those who try to impose and put their will upon children and make their lives a misery for a long time."

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