June 3, 2011
12-year-old girl alleges sexual abuse by her step-grandfather

Local authorities are investigating the alleged sexual abuse of a 12-year-student, by her step-grandfather.{{more}}

SEARCHLIGHT understands that persons close to the child, who resides in a Leeward district, became aware of the situation, when the child wrote a graphic detailed account of the alleged abuse, which she claims started when she was just 10 years old.

When contacted on Wednesday, June 1, Cammie Matthews, Director of Family Services, told SEARCHLIGHT that the matter has been brought to the attention of his department and the officials are looking into it.

“We continue to decry any form of abuse against children, especially sexually abuse,” said Matthews.

At launch of Child Abuse Awareness, Prevention and Detection Month in March this year, the Family Services Division reported that 1,014 cases of child abuse were reported to the Division in 2010.

The number of reported cases of child abuse in St.Vincent and the Grenadines is a cause for serious concern, said Frederick Stephenson, Minister of Familiy Affairs, on Tuesday, March 29, at a ceremony to launch Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month,.

He noted that the figure stood at 380 in 2008, but increased by 40 in 2009, taking the total for that year to 420.

Stephenson painted a grim picture of the challenges that confront the nation’s children as he unveiled data compiled by the Family Services Division.

During the period 2008 to 2010, the records show that the reported cases of sexual abuse stood at 118, physical abuse 272, abandonment 336, child neglect 174, verbal, emotional and psychological abuse 284, and non maintenance 630.

Stephenson said child abuse can be defined as any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker, which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation. He said it is also an act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm.

Explaining the nature of child abuse, Stephenson said it comes in many forms, namely: sexual abuse, physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment and non payment of child support.