SEX crimes against the nation’s innocent – the children – appear to be on the rise according to findings of a study on statistics over the past 12 months which showed that sexual penetration was the crime against minors that has been most reported to police. The statistics are based on reports made to police between the period May 2015 to July 17, of this year.

The findings were made known yesterday by Ag Supt Odette Lewis, Head of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) who said that 603 cases (or 30 percent of all sex crimes reported within this period) involved sexual penetration.

Lewis spoke at the weekly police press briefing at Police Administration Building, Port-of-Spain.

“To date there has been a total of 2,595 reports made to the Child Protection Unit for the period May 2015 to July 2016. For all the reports made within this period, there are 520 matters currently before the courts. Out of the reports, sexual penetration has been the most serious reported crime,” Ag Supt Lewis said.

“Sexual touching follows at 242 reported cases, with a percentage of 10.5 percent, while familial relationship (incest) has been found to be at a rate of 27 with a 4.8 percent.” Lewis continued to explain the breakdown of statistics.

“There are 35 reported cases of sexual assault, 5.2 percent; child abuse is reported at 202, with a percentage of 9.8 percent; 48 cases of missing reports, with a percentage of 2.5 percent; and those children reported missing since the CPU was established, 100 percent have been returned.” She added, that there were 60 cases of abandonment and neglect, 8.2 percent. Teenage pregnancy was at a rate of 68, with a percentile rate of six percent.

“These cases account for 69.5 percent of crimes against children investigated by the Child Protection Unit. We are again advising parents and guardians during the July-August school vacation to ensure at all times children are left in the care of responsible adults and that emergency numbers are easily accessible,” she said. Lewis explained that the CPU was established in 2015 and in every Police Division there is a CPU. She said the CPU is mandated through the Children’s Authority Act number 46:10 to engage in a collaboration relationship with stakeholders to ensure the care and protection of the nation’s children. “While the CPU is responsible for investigating crimes perpetrated against children, the Children’s Authority’s responsibility is to simultaneously engage in the psychosocial interventions which assist the child victim to maintain a sense of stability in his or her life,” Supt Lewis said.

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