Social services to redouble efforts in wake of minor assaults

Minister of Social Services, Lanisha Rolle.

While police are still on the hunt for the man believed to be responsible for sexual attacks on two young girls, Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Lanisha Rolle confirmed to Eyewitness News yesterday, that her ministry has kicked into overdrive to ensure that the victims needs are being addressed.

“Certainly, we are not in a position as the police, to be able to say whether it happened or not or whether charges will be levied. But, certainly we can assure that the children – and those who are affected in the first instance – receive any type of intervention, counselling or immediate medical services,” said Rolle.

Amid concerns of police silence on the matter, some question if police and social services are reactive as opposed to proactive.

“Under the Child Protection Act 2007, we are really the first responders. But if you don’t tell us, then it causes us to lag behind in terms of intervention. But, we want communities to know that we are here for you and abuse will not be tolerated,” said Rolle.

Social services will now beef up public awareness campaigns, she said, equipping communities with the tools they need to fight sexual crimes against children.

“We ought to go out and educate the public as to what is best for us to be able to function in today’s world because things are different nowadays. In a developing country you will have these challenges and we have to continue to create systems that can accommodate where we are,” noted Rolle.

While heightening public awareness, Rolle admonished parents and the wider community to be more responsible as well.

“I think a lot of persons don’t understand that when you have children you have a huge responsibility and accountability. And so educating the public on what their responsibilities are is important,” shared Rolle.

“Once we do this, we will be able to make communities aware. It will begin to change the current culture where people feel as though they can do whatever they want.”

Authorities were mum after the first sexual assault, which involved a 6-year-old girl.

That incident took place on April 28, according to police.

It wasn’t until a second child was raped, in the same area however, that police finally issued information concerning both cases to the public.

In the second incident, the predator, police said  attacked a 12-year-old girl.

Both attacks occurred in the Englertson community.

Up to news time Saturday, police remained tightlipped and refused to provide Eyewitness News with additional details surrounding the incidents.