HUNDREDS of people contact the Rape Crisis Society seeking advice, but some wait three weeks before they can get an appointment to meet with a counsellor.
However, children are always given priority over adults.
And if the 12-year-old girl from central Trinidad who reported last week that she was allegedly raped by two men seeks help, she would be given aid as soon as possible.
This was the assurance yesterday from the Rape Crisis Society, which appealed to victims to step forward.
Last Thursday, the 12-year-old broke down in tears during celebrations for her success at the Secondary Entrance Assessment (SEA) examination.
The girl claimed she was sexually assaulted over a period of time. Two men were subsequently arrested and charged.
They were denied bail yesterday in the Chaguanas Second Magistrate Court.
Rape Crisis Society counsellor Amanda Ackbarali-Ramdial said the girl would need help, and should visit the organisation with a parent or guardian.
Ackbarali-Ramdial said, "At first we will be very patient. If it is the child upon the first session does not want to immediately start talking about all the gruesome details all our counsellors are fine with that.
"You spend the first session getting to know the child, getting a rapport flowing and then in the other sessions it eventually becomes easier.
"Every child deals with the effects of rape differently. That is usually determined by what coping mechanism they would develop in their earlier life. Whatever role models they would have had in their home ... would determine how the child deals with the crisis of rape ."
Ackbarali-Ramdial said for children younger than 12, a different type of therapy was used.
"We have an entire play therapy room that is set up at both of our North and South centres where the therapy is tailored to suit children.
"We have cases that come to us as young as four years old. In cases like that you need to use different forms of therapy like playing with anatomically designed dolls for them so they will be able to identify the different genital areas and exactly what was done. A lot of art and craft therapy we use to make them express their anger and the different emotions," she said.
The Rape Crisis Society also assists victims with making contact with the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority.
Ackbarali-Ramdial said, "There is a system in place now where if the child is unable to face the perpetrator in court. There are systems in place where there is video conferencing so the parents or the guardian can request that a lawyer set it up.
"The child is put into a separate room and allowed to see what is going on to sort of spare the child that additional trauma of having to see the perpetrator again."
For medical assistance, victims are usually referred to the Medical Research Foundation where they can have all testing done for sexually transmitted diseases and they also receive medication.
Males have also sought the assistance of the organisation, Ackbarali-Ramdial said.
"Sometimes with males they come in for one reason. It might be anger management, maybe it might be they are perpetrators of domestic violence but when you get well into the counselling you realise there was a history of child sexual abuse which could be one of the factors attributing to why they are aggressive or violent in adulthood,'' she said.
The Express made several unsuccessful efforts yesterday to contact the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service Victim Support Unit and its head, former assistant commissioner of Police Margaret Sampson-Browne, to determine whether help was being offered to the child.