“Despite being home to 8.5 per cent of the world’s population, the Caribbean region disproportionately experiences about 27 per cent of the world’s homicides.” (Barbados Advocate, 2020)
With routine reports of daily homicides; familiar announcements of aggravated sexual assaults; and the everyday danger of robberies—the people of Trinidad and Tobago are constantly left in a state of fear for their lives and the lives of their loved ones.
Research shows that children and adolescents who experience violent events are more likely to experience poor mental health and difficulty with their personal development. Over the years, there have been many instances of school students being direct victims of acts of violence, such as horrific shootings, senseless and gruesome stabbings or cold-blooded murders.
These violent acts do not only impact the lives of the families of the victims but the peers and friends who interacted with these children at school. The shock, terror and fear of crime when violence occurs within a community can have significant impacts on a child or adolescent’s perceived safety; which can lead to poor mental health.
As summed up in a 2021 statement by the minister responsible for gender and child affairs: “The onus is on all of us to take responsibility for our thoughts, attitudes and behaviours toward violence, knowing that there is a penalty and a price that is paid when people act from a place of anger and hate. The long-term effects of violence are hard to reconcile, and the rehabilitation and healing process may far exceed the injury sustained in this act”.
If you believe that a child may be experiencing psychosocial stress brought on by community violence, contact ChildLine at 800-4321 for support.