Police arrest woman over children abuse video – Guy-Alleyne: Mum held, kids in care

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne

POLICE Supt Claire Guy-Alleyne told Newsday on Thursday that a San Juan woman seen in a disturbing viral video abusing two small children has been arrested by the police and the children have been given medical attention.

The Children’s Authority, in a statement, said the children were taken into care.

Guy-Alleyne said the police service’s Special Victims Department, which she heads, had responded on Wednesday night in collaboration with the Children’s Authority upon seeing the video.

“The woman was indeed arrested. The investigation is ongoing. The children sought medical attention and stuff, and the investigation is ongoing at this time. We are conducting interviews and that kind of thing.”

She confirmed that the woman remained in custody.“And the children are at a safe place.”

Newsday asked about several neighbours seen in the video physically intervening to try to stop the woman abusing the two children, and whether that was or was not an advisable action to take.

Guy-Alleyne said, “The thing about it is that child protection is everyone’s business.“We want to thank citizens for their intervention and bringing this thing out in the open, so that these matters could be investigated.”

She asked people to continue to be vigilant.

“Whenever they have information about child abuse, report it to the police immediately so that it can be investigated.

“We want citizens to intervene in instances where children are being abused. However, your safety will be paramount as well.”

Guy-Alleyne urged people to add to the level of intervention in protecting children.

“Do not just see something happening and turn a blind eye. Let us be each other’s keeper.”

She said the police recognised parenting was challenging.

“We are asking parents to be open and honest and frank with themselves, and whenever the pressures are coming, seek help immediately.

“We are in 2024 and there are different avenues where you could seek help. There is the suicide hotline you can call if you feel you are under the water.”

The Lifeline helpline for the despairing and suicidal can be reached toll-free at 800-5588.

Guy-Alleyne continued, “You can even call the police at 999, who will offer you some sort of assistance whether it is Childline (phone: 800-4321)…”

She said Trinidad and Tobago had many avenues of assistance for stressed parents needing help, rather than them doing something they would regret or lead them to breach the law.

“Our children are our most important commodity and we need to invest in them and nurture them and to be a good example for them.”

The Children’s Authority gave details in a statement titled Child Abuse Is Preventable. The statement said through collaboration between the authority and the police Child Protection Unit, two children seen in a video being mistreated by a woman had been taken into care.

Authority CEO Sheldon Cyrus said, “The organisation’s emergency response team joined police officers after reports were made about the incident to the authority’s hotline.

“Once again the public must be commended for bringing the incident to the attention of the authority, which has led to the removal of the children from imminent danger…

“The authority is of the firm belief that children thrive best in a family environment and the removal of a child from his or her home is only initiated if the safety of the child is deemed to be at risk.”

Cyrus urged parents, caregivers, and families to seek support if they were experiencing challenges.

“As the authority recognises April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month, it reminds that child abuse is preventable and we all have a duty to speak up against it. Reports of abuse should be made to the police at 999 or the authority at 996.”

The statement listed agencies that might be contacted.

Those include: the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services 800-1673, the National Family Services Division 623-2608 ext. 6701-6711, the TT Association of Psychologists 717-8827, the Student Support Services Division of the Ministry of Education: 724-1010, and Childline 131.