12 Feb
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Orange Day Release June 2016 – Crimes against our women and children

About PLOTT’s Monthly Orange Day Release

Our Monthly Orange Day Release is one of several initiatives we have been engaged in as we seek to;

▪ create an environment of social responsibility;

▪ address the violence across our country, especially against our women and girls;

▪ develop champions for T&T;

▪ ensure justice for our nation’s youth and

* ▪ nurture a sense of passion, pride and belonging – within our respective communities and across our great nation.

The content of our monthly Orange Day Release includes:

 

Updates on PLOTT’s events and activities to raise awareness and end the violence against our women and girls

Data as available on Sexual and Domestic Violence related reports and crimes

Content or links to articles on the impact of the perpetuating violence on our children and the overall psyche across society

Status of T&T’s compliance in accordance with SDG Goal #5: Gender Parity and CEDAW.

See below for this month’s, Orange Day Release – June 25th 2016.

girls

Child Marriage – progress update

In last month’s release May 25th 2016, we highlighted the issue of Child Marriage in Trinidad and Tobago and reissued a comprehensive overview of our recommendations to save our nation’s children; a joint statement (dated December 22nd 2013) from a network of women who continue to advocate for institutional and legislative reform on behalf of our women and children.

Included in that statement was a call on Government to “Address the incongruity that exists in the law of Trinidad and Tobago which allows religion to sanction the marriage of girls under 14 years and the other which declares that sexual activity with girls under 16 years constitute statutory rape; increase the legal age for marriage by girls to at least 18.”

On June 9th a grouping of nineteen organisations published a joint “Civil Society Statement on Rationalizing the Age of Consent.”

On June 15th, The Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs (AGLA) held a public consultation on the Marriage Acts and issues affecting children. The event was held at the Radisson Hotel, Port of Spain and was the first of a series of consultations to be held on the Marriage Acts across Trinidad and Tobago.

Progress – albeit slowly – is being made.

See below for highlights from our June 3rd discussion “Protecting Our Women and Girls: Time to Step It Up T&T.”.

Networking Luncheon 3-Jun-16

Save Our Children Sharifa Abdullah 3-Jun-16

From left to right: Beverly Wilson, PLOTT’s Treasurer, Sharifa Ali-Abdullah, Director of the Children’s Authority and Gillian Wall, PLOTT’s Co-founder and Chief PLOTTer

Highlights from Protecting our Women and Girls: Time to Step It Up T&T

On June 3rd we hosted our monthly networking luncheon and discussion in partnership with the Children’s Authority. This gathering was indeed bitter sweet. Our feature speaker Mrs. Sharifah Ali-Abdullah, Directory of the Children’s Authority delivered a powerful address and shared some chilling statistics on the abuse of our nation’s children. Guest speaker Ms. Terry Ince provided an update on the current situation of Women in T&T by highlighting our gaps in compliance to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).

T&T is up for review on July 19th and we intend to hold our stakeholders accountable.

Members of the audience were also invited to share any specific work they were engaged in with regard to protecting our women and girls. Contributions were heard from: Elizabeth Talma-Sankar, Public Affairs Manager at The Shelter for Battered Women and Children, Roslyn Carrington, Lorraine Villaroel and Dr. Safeeya Mohammed.

Children s Authortiy Logo transparent

Current situation of children in Trinidad and Tobago

In her address, Ali-Abdullah shared that since the Children’s Authority was set up it has dealt with over 6,000 cases of children in crisis in this country, handling over 500 emergency cases of child abuse every month. These include dire circumstances of physical and sexual abuse, abandonment, abject poverty, neglect, starvation and even worse – unthinkable circumstances. Attendees struggled to hold back their tears as Ali-Abdullah shared some specific cases of the suffering and abuse of children in crisis across Trinidad and Tobago. One of the biggest problems the Authority faces in dealing with these cases is where to put the children during the time they are removed from horrific circumstances and are being assessed by the Authority and awaiting further placement.

Would you like to help?

Do you know that you can be a foster parent just for a weekend? Do you know that single people, or unmarried but co-habitating couples can also qualify to be foster parents?

Anjuli Tewari, Team Lead, Foster Care at the Authority, encouraged attendees to explore becoming foster parents, indicating that while each applicant is taken through a thorough assessment to make sure that their home environment is a safe one for the child/children they’re fostering, the process is not tedious nor long-suffering.

You can play a critical part in the transformation of these young lives. For a child coming from these horrific circumstances, getting even one or two days where they are safe, loved and cared for can make all the difference in the world. How long or how short you foster parent is totally up to you. You can choose to be a long-term foster parent but in fact it is actually short-term foster homes (the overnight, the weekends, weeks or even for a three month period) that the Authority and these children most desperately need right now. The children range from babies – who just need strong, safe and loving arms to hold them even if it’s only for a little while – to teenagers. Once again, you decide what you can handle.

For Further Information please contact:

The Foster Care Unit

The Children’s Authority

35A Wrightson Road, Port of Spain

Phone: 627-0748/ 623-7555/ 625-7151 ext. 2012/ 2132

Fax: 624-6316

Email: fostercare@ttchildren.org

Website: www.ttchildren.org

See below for further highlights and media coverage of “Protecting Our Women and Girls: Time to Step It Up T&T”.

Elzabeth Talma The Shelter

Elizabeth Talma-Sankar, Public Affairs Manager at The Shelter for Battered Women and Children

Summary of Meeting Outcomes / Actions Agreed

 

Children’s Authority – PLOTT to support the work of the Authority through: continued advocacy on behalf of our nation’s children; referral of potential Foster CareParents; and circulation of ongoing statiscal analysis.

The Shelter for Battered Women and Children – PLOTT to support the work of the Shelter, Elizabeth Talma-Sankar, Public Affairs Manager at The Shelter to circulate details on The Shelter and begin utlising reasearch and statistics gathered by the Children’s Authority and PLOTT

Sex and Health Education – Team to be established for Development and Implementation of an Advocacy Agenda

Increased Attendance and Engagement of Corporate Partners – Strategy agreed

World Refuge Day – Agreement on recognition of the day (June 22nd) and support of the many persons seeking refuge in T&T; online awareness and initiation of chalkboard conversations within workplaces.

CEDAW Compliance – Hold stakeholders accountable via continued review of country reports and advocacy to close the gaps

Work-Life Balance – PLOTT to establish a Health and Wellness Committee for development and roll-out of a comprehensive programme for women

Photo Album 3-Jun-16.

Sharifa Ali-Abdullar PLOTT event 3-Jun-16

Click on image above for CNC3’s Prime Time News Coverage 3-Jun-16

Child Marriage-Guardian Cover Story 4-Jun-16

Cover Story Saturday June 4th 2016

“CURIOUS CASES…Children’s Authority Probes 10 Child Marriages”, Guardian Cover Story Saturday June 4th

The Children’s Authority is currently investigating ten cases of child marriages which are deemed to have occurred in curious circumstances, the authority’s director Sharifa Ali-Abdullah said yesterday.

The cases raised eyebrows amongst members of the authority who initially looked into them as they were being recorded by the authority, she said, prompting them to take a closer look.

Ali-Abdullah raised the cases during a networking luncheon and roundtable discussion hosted by the Powerful Ladies of T&T at the Queen’s Park Oval, Port-of-Spain, which was titled “Protecting our Women and Girls: Time To Step It Up T&T.”

First giving the gathering figures they had on sexual abuse, she said approximately 150 children were living with adult men and of that figure 50 are pregnant and ten are married

She said of those ten children who were married, “nine of them are between the ages of 16 and 17, one is 14 to 15 and we’re investigating those cases.”

She noted that while some minors willingly enter into some marriages, it was important for the authority to probe these ten cases to make sure nothing untoward occurred.

“What we are investigating is to understand whether there is exploitation, whether children are being sold into marriages, whether there is collusion,” she said in an interview with CNC3 afterwards, adding, “I think it is important to look at every single one of those cases.”

She said the authority would not hesitate to intervene in a case if anything untoward was found to have occurred.

Ali-Abdullah said because there had been much debate on the issue of child marriages currently in the public domain, it was important that the authority conduct a professional exercise so as to be able to contribute valid information to the dialogue.

“It’s important that we put things on the table and that we’re are able to address these issues in a very logical and rational way and we need to get all sides of the story,” she told the gathering during her presentation.

Meanwhile, the Children’s Ark also weighed in on the issue of child marriages yesterday, calling for greater education on the topic as well as legislative changes.

In a release, the Children’s Ark said it hoped that with widespread dialogue on the matter, the various religious sects would refrain from demonising one another and their cultural traditions.

The NGO, which said it is committed to promoting the rights and welfare of the child, said while the Hindu Marriage Act, Muslim Marriage Act and the Orisha Marriage Act contained provisions enabling minors to enter into legally valid marriages, T&T had also signed and ratified the UN Convention on Rights of the Child, which carries with it a sense of duty and responsibility to protect children’s rights.

President of the Children’s Ark, Simone de la Bastide, said, “The laws which allow the marriage of minors are in direct contravention of our international obligations. These laws put in peril the welfare and best interests of the child.”

Children s Authority Statiscal Bulletin May 2015 - Feb 2016

Click on the image above to download

Recent PLOTT Initiatives on Ending The Violence

Other Noteworthy Events – June 2016

Bitter Cassava

Event Flyer

June 11th

The Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobagohosted a special Gala Performance of the internationally-acclaimed play “Bitter Cassava” on June 11th 2016. Written and directed by Vanguard Award recipient and local Playwright Lester Efebo Wilkinson, the one night only event told the story of a woman’s plight battling domestic violence at the hands of her common-law husband. This along with the enthralling blend of song and dance coupled with the talents of our local actors.

The play was held at the Little Carib Theatre on Saturday June 11th at 7:30p.m. ALL proceeds from the event were donated to the Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Society of Trinidad and Tobago, to enhance the services provided to victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

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Merissa Aguilleira, West Indies Cricketer and Captain of the Trinidad and Tobago Women’s Cricket Team.

June 2nd

Like A Girl is an international movement conceived with the aim of instilling a more meaningful understanding of confidence in younger women. Launched by Always in 2013, the campaign provides resources and tools to empower girls experiencing puberty.

Alstons Marketing Company Limited (AMCO), a local representative for Always, introduced Like A Girl in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday June 2nd, 2016. To launch the initiative, Merissa Aguilleira, West Indies cricketer and captain of the Trinidad and Tobago women’s cricket team, shared her story on becoming a world-class athlete. Ms. Antoinette Jack-Martin, Director of Gender Affairs with the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs), delivered the feature address. Donella De Verteuil, Market Manager, Procter & Gamble and Patrina Jaggernath, Category Manager for Personal Care, Procter & Gamble said executing the campaign locally is expected to make a significant impact by transforming perceptions through highlighting inspiring young women and that Always has a history of championing the empowerment of girls.

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Ms. Antoinette Jack-Martin, Director of Gender Affairs with the Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs)

In attendance were members of several noted women’s and youth engagement organisations such as the Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago, Association of Female Executives of Trinidad and Tobago, Girl Guides of Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean Youth Environment Network, National Parent Teacher Association of Trinidad and Tobago, Soroptomist International Trinidad and Tobago, and Junior Achievement of Trinidad & Tobago

Always Like A Girl is a movement that can elicit significant, positive change in the lives of girls and women across our country. A major component of the campaign will be two young female ambassadors selected after a nomination and voting process. These women will be nominated based on their leadership in areas such as academics, community service, entrepreneurship and sports, just to name a few categories.

Once selected, along with a medical practitioner, these ambassadors will visit various schools, in addition to speaking at other events with a goal to empower and motivate girls.

The event also signalled the launch of the #LikeAGirlTT website and Facebook destinations. The public and organisations can nominate an inspiring woman between the ages of 18 – 25 years old, who is defying the odds and achieving in various disciplines such as academics, sports and community activism. Their stories will be highlighted nationally and the two Ambassadors will share their positive message directly to young women through visits to schools and at other speaking engagements.

For further information on Always #LikeAGirlTT, visit Facebook or the #LikeAGirlTT website.

Click on the links below for two videos from the international campaign that provide an overview of the initiative:

* What does it mean to do something “Like A Girl?”

* Do we limit girls?

Visit www.likeagirltt.com for further information.

slideshow violence women

About Orange Day

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Take action to Orange your day

The UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, managed by UN Women, has proclaimed every 25th of the month as “Orange Day” – a day to take action to raise awareness and prevent violence against women and girls.

Initiated and led by the UNiTE campaign Global Youth Network, Orange Day calls upon activists, governments and UN partners to mobilize people and highlight issues relevant to preventing and ending violence against women and girls, not only once a year, on 25 November (International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women), but every month.

2030 Agenda

Starting this year 2016, the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 global goals that applies to all countries, will begin to guide global policy and action. These goals include gender equality and women’s empowerment as a key priority and includes specific targets to end violence against women and girls.

In 2016, the UNiTE Campaign will continue to mark 25th of every month as “Orange Day,” a day to raise awareness and take action to end violence against women and girls. Orange Days will highlight specific Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to violence against women and girls. Check in here for themes, action ideas and messages. The global goals are for everyone, and to fully achieve them, everyone has a role to play in ending gender inequality and violence.

Orange Day 2016 – UNiTE action themes to date:

* January: Wear orange and start the conversation about how your country can achieve gender equality and eliminate violence against women and girls by 2030!

* February: Break the cycle of poverty and violence against women and girls

* March: Health and Violence against Women and Girls

* April: Orange the world: Raise money to end violence against women

* May: Water and Sanitation and Violence against Women and Girls

* June: Safe Education for Women and Girls

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Domestic Violence TT Contact Numbers
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Networking Luncheon 1-Jul-16

About PLOTT

The Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (P.L.O.T.T.) is a non-governmental organisation providing networking and support to female leaders of Trinidad and Tobago (both locally and within the T&T diaspora), while contributing to a variety of social development initiatives. We are a network of powerful leaders actively plotting for a better T&T; building a global support network and creating an environment of social responsibility. Click here for further details on Who We Are and What We Do.

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We Are The Change.

Powerful Ladies of Trinidad and Tobago (P.L.O.T.T.)

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Office: 1-868-623-6005 | Mobile: 1-868-489-2522, 1-868-680-9248

e-mail: plott2011@gmail.com | Website: www.plottonline.org |

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