The Trinidad and Tobago Police Service reveals that five hundred and fifty-two persons have been arrested and charged to date, since May 2015, for committing offences against children, under the Children’s Act.

Woman Sergeant , Michelle Lewis, of the Child Protection Unit, Port of Spain Division, says that of the 552 persons charged, 73 were charged in 2015, 184 in 2016, 289 in 2017 and six persons, so far, in 2018 for various offences against children.

Sergeant Lewis made the revelation at today’s TTPS weekly Media Briefing, at Police Administration Building, Port of Spain.

She noted a worrying increase in the number of offences committed against persons under the age of 18, with a high percentage involving sexual penetration of a child and sexual touching of a child.

W/Sgt. Lewis disclosed that in 2015, there were 98 offences committed, of which 61 involved sexual penetration of a child and 28, sexual touching; 370 in 2016, of which 199 involved sexual penetration and 69 sexual touching, 406 in 2017, of which 244 involved sexual penetration and 78 sexual touching and of the 50 reports thus far for 2018, 30 involved sexual penetration and 19 sexual touching.

Officer Lewis also urged parents and guardians to remember that they have a duty of care over the children under their charge and commensurate obligation to ensure the rights of the child are protected.

She also pointed to an unsettling trend emerging in custody disputes, whereby children are being coached to make unfounded allegations against one of the parties in the dispute.

As a result of this, the CPU is then required to divert limited resources to investigate these allegations, instead of focusing on genuine cases of abuse against children.

W/Sgt. Lewis also pointed to cases of teenaged girls finding themselves pregnant without any recollection of a sexual encounter, leading investigators to conclude they were drugged, then raped.