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National Assembly

National Assembly   |02 November 2023

Seven cases related to minors prosecuted


For the period 2021/2022, the Family Unit squad within the police recorded 68 cases of children being absent from their homes without notifying their parents or guardians, out of which 26 were boys and 42 were girls.

Internal affairs minister, Errol Fonseka, revealed the figures during the National Assembly’s ‘Questions for Oral Answers’, on Tuesday morning, when answering a question tabled by the elected member for Perseverance, Desheila Bastienne.

Mrs Bastienne wanted to that know since there were recurring reports of minors, especially girls, being absent from their homes, how many cases have been prosecuted, where adults harbouring minors were found guilty, and how many of them were involved in sexual trafficking.

Minister Fonseka informed the house that seven cases have been prosecuted, out of which four were for sexual assaults while three were for harbouring a minor.

Also present in the National Assembly was social services director, Beryl Laboudallon, who outlined the procedures that take place between the police and the social services, when a minor is reported missing from his or her home.

Ms Laboudallon said some are usually at a friend’s or boyfriend’s place and some parents do not bother to look for them. When the reports are made they are encouraged to go to the police for a formal complaint, which is closely followed by the social services.

According to her, once the minor is located they are asked to give a statement and to undergo medical tests.

“They receive counselling from the social services but it takes time for them to open up,” said Ms Laboudallon adding that sometimes there is not enough evidence to prosecute those responsible as the victims refuse to cooperate.

She added the ongoing exercise to review the Children’s Act is expected to address existing gaps, where they will be able to come up with provisions for children’s anti-social behaviour and appropriate penalties.

These would also apply pressure on parents, forcing them to take up their responsibilities.

According to the social services, although the Youth Hope project will ease the situation, it is not the only solution as there should be other things in play such as strengthening the social education at school and community levels.


Patsy Canaya



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