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Police outline laws related to child abuse

By Susan Mohammed susan.mohammed@trinidadexpress.com

The T&T Police Service Public Affairs Unit yesterday issued a statement in response to concerns expressed in the media about the response of the police to the missing persons report made by the relatives of Keyana Cumberbatch last Monday.

Six-year-old Cumberbatch’s body was found stuffed in a cardboard barrel in her mother’s bedroom, four days after she went missing from the family’s Maloney Gardens apartment. The statement extended condolences to the victim’s family and assured “we will do all within our powers to ensure that the perpetrator of this heinous crime is brought to justice.”

The Unit outlined the following laws which are currently in force as it relates to children and abuse 

Section 10 of the Sexual Offence Act 11:28 states: 

(1) An adult who has sexual intercourse with a minor who is the adult’s adopted child, step-child, foster child, ward or dependant in the adult’s custody is guilty of an offence.

(2) An adult who commits an offence under this section is liable on conviction to imprisonment—

 

(a) if committed with a minor under 14 years of age, for life;

(b) if committed with a minor 14 years of age or more, for 25 years.

 

Section 9 of the Sexual Offences Act 11:28- INCEST

 

9. (1) A person commits the offence of incest who, knowing that another person is by blood relationship, his or her parent, child, brother, sister, grandparent, grandchild, uncle, niece, aunt or nephew, as the case may be, has sexual intercourse with that person.

 

(2) A person who commits the offence of incest is liable on conviction to imprisonment—

 

(a) If committed by an adult with a person under 14 years of age, for life;

(b) If committed by an adult with a person 14 years of age or more, for life;

(c) If committed between minors 14 years of age or more, for two years

 

f Section 31 of the Sexual offences Act

Mandatory reporting of sexual abuse of a minor

Section 31 of the Sexual Offences Act 11:28

 

31. (1) Any person who—

 

(a) is the parent or guardian of a minor;

(b) Has the actual custody, charge or control of a minor

(c) Has the temporary custody, care, charge or control of a minor for a special purpose, as his attendant, employer or teacher, or in any other capacity; or

(d) is a medical practitioner, or a registered nurse or midwife, and has performed a medical examination in respect of a minor, and who has reasonable grounds for believing that a sexual offence has been committed in respect of that minor, shall report the grounds for his belief to a police officer as soon as reasonably practicable.

 

(2) Any person who without reasonable excuse fails to comply with the requirements of subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $15,000 or to imprisonment for a term of seven years or to both such fine and imprisonment

 

Obstructing prosecution. Section 31A of the Sexual Offences Act

31A. Where a person prevents a minor from—

(a) Giving a statement to the police; or

(b) Testifying, in proceedings relating to a sexual offence, he commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $20,000 and to imprisonment for a term of ten years.

 

The Trinidad and Tobago Police service Victim and Witness Support Unit can be contacted at – 624-8853.

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