Tuesday 28 January, 2020

TTPS sounds warning against sharing child pornography

The police service is admonishing members of the public against disseminating viral videos involving children engaging in sexual activities.

The warning comes from acting Assistant Superintendent of Police attached to the Child Protection Unit, Claire Guy-Alleyne.

Speaking at the Police Service Weekly Media Briefing on Wednesday, Guy-Alleyne said the CPU has identified three prevalent offences including Sexual Penetration, Sexual Touching and Cruelty to Children.

“At the CPU we have noted that citizens continue to disseminate viral videos involving children engaging in activities of a sexual nature. It is imperative that citizens understand that Section 40 of the Children’s Act, states if a person makes, publishes, distributes, transmits, shows or has in possession such material (child pornography); it is an offence and the person is liable upon conviction to a fine of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.) and imprisonment for ten (10) years.”

Laws regarding sexual offences and cruelty against minors

- Sexual Penetration According to the Children’s Act Chapter 46:01, ‘Sexual Penetration’ is defined as the insertion of any body part or object into a child’s bodily orifice and the insertion of a part of a child’s body into a person’s bodily orifice. (This means that whether the child is penetrated using a sexual organ, another body part or an object, the offence is properly constituted.) Section 18 of the Act states that a person who sexually penetrates a child commits an offence and is liable, on conviction, to imprisonment for life.

- Sexual Touching Under Section 19 of the Act, where a person touches a child under 16 years of age and the touching is sexual, that person commits an offence. Touching in relation to a child, includes bringing a part of a person’s body or an object into contact with a part of the child’s body, or causing a part of a child’s body to come into contact with a part of a person’s body, whether or not through clothing or any other material. A person is liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.

- Cruelty to Children Under Section 4 of the Children’s Act, a person can be held liable for cruelty to children, where such person has responsibility for a child and willfully assaults, ill-treats, neglects, abandons, exposes the child or causes or procures the child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed in a manner likely to cause that child suffering or injury to his physical, mental or emotional health. Additionally, this offence covers where a child under the age of three years dies whilst in bed or any other place with a person and it is proved that the death was not caused by disease or any other medical cause; and that the person was at the material time under the influence of drink, dangerous drugs or another substance having similar effect. The penalty for this offence is: on Summary conviction to a fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for six years and on Indictment to a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for 10 years.

Parents urged to pay particular attention to children during Carnival 2019

Acknowledging that Carnival is around the corner, Guy-Alleyne offered safety tips, reiterating the need for parents and guardians to take extra care and caution to adequately safeguard the nation’s children.

“It is important to ensure our children’s safety whether or not they are directly participating in the national festivities. As parents and guardians, it is our responsibility to properly scan the environment and proactively identify potential threats and to take measure to neutralize or reduce the identified threats.”

If you are taking your children out this season, the TTPS is advising that you ensure that:  

- The ratio of adults to children is sufficient to ensure proper care and supervision while enjoying the festivities. We recommend 1 adult to 2/3 children.  All children have name tags in the event that they are separated from their caregivers. I know in the past, name tags were provided as a courtesy from some companies, you can, however, make your own.  

- Caution children against speaking to, taking food and drink items from, or going off with strangers.  You and your children know all the emergency numbers in the event that an emergency arises. These include Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, (999, 911 or 555) Emergency Medical Service (811) and Fire Service (990).  

- When driving, please follow all rules in terms of the speed limit and ensure that all children are secured with the seat belt in their seats and there are safety seats for toddlers.  

- When at public events, children must not have personal electronic gadgets and other items which may distract and increase their vulnerability. We advise that those items should be secured at home.  

- Avoid sending children to withdraw cash from ATMs. They are softer targets for robberies and assault.  Remember that you are prohibited by law from giving children alcoholic beverages and dangerous drugs.

- Remember that it is not advisable to carry around large sums of money and expensive personal items as they may make you an easy target.

If you are leaving the children at home this season, please take heed of the following:  

- Ensure that you know the persons to whom you are entrusting the care of your children; important questions to consider- Are they trustworthy? Are they capable?  Know the whereabouts of your children at all times.

- Ensure that all their activities are properly supervised. Please remember that a child only comes of age at their 18th birthday.  Do not use video arcades, toy stores or movie theatres as babysitters. Predators are always looking for opportunities and unattended children are vulnerable.

- Talk with your children about safety and security measures for the home. Do this regularly so that it becomes muscle memory for them.

 Important tips: children must not open the door for unidentified persons, children must not publish details of their parents/guardians whereabouts on social media.  Advise children to leave the house lights on at night; as this will deter intruders.

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