(CMR) The government of Antigua and Barbuda has been engaged in discussions about child abuse following the revelation that an 11-year-old girl is pregnant.
The child has since been placed in state care. Reports are that government officials were concerned about the child's safety and arranged for her to be taken to the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre for fear that the pregnancy may endanger her life.
Much information was not revealed about the child or her pregnancy circumstances to protect her identity.
“The police operate a Special Victims Unit to treat minors who suffer a similar fate from sexual predators. However, confidentiality is required by law. The victim's name, as well as the names of any others who may have been victims of the young minor, cannot be disclosed. Confidentiality then serves to protect even those who victimize,” the cabinet said in a message to local media.
Feona Charles Richards, Director of Family Services, and two police officers discussed recent child abuse incidents with the cabinet when the government officials met on Wednesday.
Melford Nicholas, Minister of Information, said, “In matters as sensitive as this, particularly incidents involving vulnerable minors, we sometimes can be guilty of adding insult to injury where they experience more emotional problems when their matters are looked into in such a public way…we have to be mindful of that when dealing with these issues,” he stated.
He also urged Antiguans and Barbudians to “be mindful that we have a responsibility wherever there is a failure in families.”
He continued: “And we accept that there are circumstances that would lead to families becoming vulnerable. And in those conditions, children sometimes become victims of the extension of that vulnerability, and the state really would want to make an appropriate intervention.”