Police officers are expected to undergo training to equip them to deal more effectively with reports of child abuse – although it is not yet known how soon the training will begin.
This emphasis on training arises from a recent report in which officers were notified that a young boy was being beaten severely by his father.
Reports say that a neighbour notified the Police of what he felt was abuse of the child. Officers later contacted the child-protection services and both agencies went to the home to conduct inquiries. However, they were refused entry, “leaving the child to the mercy of his parents.”
The matter reportedly was discussed at Cabinet, this week, with the Director of Family Services and members of the Police Force in attendance.
The issue arising was whether any action could be taken in a child-abuse case when a minor is being severely beaten or physically abused by parents.
Reportedly, Attorney-General Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin pointed out that the Child Care Protection Act, 2016, Section 136(e) gives the Police the power to arrest in cases where they determine that abuse has taken place.
It was therefore decided that no amendment to the law is required, at this time, since law enforcement is permitted to intervene in circumstances where the welfare of the child may very likely be in grave danger.