Trinidad and Tobago: Stop crime before it starts, says Senator Donna Cox
Trinidad and Tobago: Stop crime before it starts, says Senator Donna Cox || Picture Courtesy: Ministry's Facebook

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago: “Healthy families equal safe communities and safer societies,” said Minister of Social Development and Family Services, Senator Donna Cox, during her presentation on the Social Perspective on Crime – Overview of Trinidad and Tobago, according to the official post by Ministry of Social Development and Family Services of Trinidad and Tobago.

Minister Cox was speaking at the Regional Symposium on Violence as a Public Health Issue – The Crime Challenge. She told attendees, including ten Heads of Government/State, that between 2018 and 2022, there were almost 10,000 cases of Domestic Violence reported to the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, while 175 lives were lost to Domestic Violence and another 504 to suicide.

The update further said that she explained that cases filed before the Court from August 2017 to July 2022 showed that thousand eight hundred and eleven (1,811) children were before the court for Criminal Matters, thousand four hundred and five (1,405) cases were filed for Children in Need of Supervision, Twenty-seven thousand and ninety-five (27,095) cases filed for Domestic Violence, eight thousand six hundred and eight (8,608) cases filed for Maintenance, thirteen thousand, two hundred and twenty-two (13,222) Divorce cases filed and two thousand four hundred and eighty-seven (2,487) custody matters filed.

“These are not just crime and social services figures; for us, this data represents broken families, affecting thousands of our citizens, regardless of age, gender, race or economic circumstances. The sum total of these numbers paints a picture of families in crisis. Families in crisis mean communities in crisis, and communities in crisis reflect a nation in crisis. When this is spread across the region, we can safely say that our region is in crisis,” Minister Cox explained.

Minister Cox said data showed that there is a link between poor parenting and the likelihood of a child engaging in criminal behaviour later in life. “In some families, it is reported that gangs have taken over the role of parents guiding our young men and women and providing them with a false sense of safety and security,” the minister added.

But she said all is not lost, urging them to look at the social determinants of crime and violence when exploring solutions to crime. “Our crime-fighting initiatives must also focus strategically on social determinants, which include parenting, values, attitudes and behaviours and the family. It is from the family issues emanate and spills over into the wider society.” She urged the regional gathering to stop crime even before it started.

The update by the ministry further notified that the two-day Regional Symposium is being hosted by Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley, Lead Head with responsibility for Energy and Security in conjunction with CARICOM and will see the various heads discuss their regional country experiences with crime and violence.