Situation analysis of children in especially difficult circumstances in Trinidad and Tobago


This survey focused on the following groups: 1) Children in institutions, 2) delinquent children, 3) children who were victims of abuse and neglect, 4) children in survival strategies, 5) children with disabilities, and 6) pregnant adolescents. A total sample of 129 children were studied. Three types of activities were undertaken: 1) a semi-structured interview with the parent or guardian (where available), 2) an interview with each child to determine their perception of the quality of their life, and 3) focus group meetings with some children in each category. The study found that the children came from families that were often under serious stress and had not been able to navigate these difficult times successfully. There were separations from parents and often many short-term caregivers. Fathers were often absent and information about them was limited. Notwithstanding the category of difficult circumstance to which they had been assigned, 64 percent of the children in the sample had been victims of child abuse and neglect, and this abuse was often severe and prolonged. Parents of the children were victims of abuse and neglect in their childhood as well. Use of psychoactive substances by parents was recorded for 30 percent of fathers and 10 percent of mothers. As many as 35 percent of the mothers began their reproductive lives in adolescence after having themselves being abused in childhood. Most of the mothers had only achieved a primary school level of education.


A study sponsored by UNICEF

Table of Contents


Child abuse