Title

The silent epidemic : primary school educators and their impact on the incidence of child sexual abuse in Trinidad and Tobago

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Ken Williams

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate the silence towards child sexual abuse and the role that teachers within the Trinidad community play in this silence. The ten teachers who were chosen to take part in this study were primarily selected because of their length of teaching service and the geographical areas they taught. The researcher also chose a racial balance of teachers to confirm that a teacher's race has no bearing on their silence towards sexually abused children. The study found that all ten teachers interviewed expressed the view that child sexual abuse is a problem in society and there were many contributing factors to the existence of such. The factors that most teachers identified were the absence of sex education in schools and the lack of support by law enforcement agencies. Many teachers also stated that mothers or the female care givers turn a blind eye to the abuse and at times refuse to believe their children. The study also showed that many teachers felt the burden of having to report cases of abuse among their students when they were ill equipped to do so. They stated that they have had no formal training in detecting child sexual abuse and felt that having to report the abuse was unfair. This resulted in teachers ignoring the mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse. Some suggestions given by teachers for reducing their silence towards child sexual abuse are educating teachers on the signs of sexual abuse, enforcing the laws that already exist and protecting their lives from incensed parents. This they say, among other factors, will help in reducing their silence towards sexual abuse of children that seems to be a major problem in society.

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