Law Enforcement and Child
By Cpl. 125 Constantine
Many will agree that the care and protection
of children is a responsibility that must rest with everyone
within the society. All children deserve to be happy, healthy
and protected from harm. In addition, specific laws protect
the rights of children, which can be considered the first step
towards ensuring our children can live safely and securely.
The main piece of legislation protecting children is the Children
and Young Persons Act, 1972. It specifies various offences that
can be committed against children, and delineates the punishment
attached to these offences.
The Law requires that parents or guardians or persons having
the custody, charge or care of any child, shall provide adequate
food, clothing, rest, medical aid and lodging. Those persons
who are responsible and fail to provide these basic needs, shall
be deemed to have neglected such child in a manner likely to
cause injury to his/her health.
There are also provisions made to protect children from persons
who seem intent upon encouraging them to be in any street, premises
or place for the purpose of begging or receiving alms, or of
inducing the giving of alms (whether or not there is any pretence
of singing, playing, performing, offering anything for sale
or otherwise) shall be guilty of an offence against this Act.
Another area of grave concern to Law enforcement is the administering
of intoxicating liquor to children. According to the Act, any
person having attained the age of eighteen years, who gives,
or causes to be given, to any child under the age of twelve
years any intoxicating liquor except upon the order of a duly
qualified medical practitioner, or in any case of sickness,
apprehended sickness, or other urgent cause, shall be deemed
to have ill-treated that child in a manner likely to cause injury
to the child’s health.
Parents and guardians must also pay attention to certain appliances
that are not sufficiently protected to guard against the risk
of a child being burnt without taking reasonable precautions
against the risk. In the event that child is killed or suffers
injury, parents or guardians shall be deemed to have neglected
that child in a manner likely to cause injury to that child’s
health. It is against the law to allow any child to be in any
room or yard containing the aforementioned appliances.
It is now up to us all to ensure the successful implementation
of the Act, in every area to make sure those who are most vulnerable
within our society (our children), get the protection they deserve.
We can achieve it if we all work together as a nation to ensure
that we provide a comparable level of safety to children in