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Fiji Time: 3:38 PM on Thursday 18 September

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Child sexual abuse

Avinesh Gopal
Monday, October 24, 2011

SENTENCES meted out to sexual offenders, especially those who commit sex crimes against children, are often said to act as a deterrent.

But despite the harsh sentences passed by the courts on the sexual offenders, what is surprising and worrying is that people still commit sex crimes, especially against children. The offenders in most cases are well known to the child victims and can either be their father, stepfather, uncle, grandfather or a distant relative.

Police statistics reveal there is a 73 per cent increase in the number of reports of rape and attempted rape, which includes cases involving children.

From January to September last year, there were 164 reports of rape and attempted rape while there were 283 reports for the same period this year.

There were 135 reports of defilement of a girl between 13 and 16 years from January to September this year compared to 114 reports for the same period last year.

Offences against public morality, which include indecent exposure and annoying a female to name a few, had increased significantly from 392 last year to 893 for the same period this year.

Fiji Women's Crisis Centre coordinator, Shamima Ali said women were still visiting the centre with reports of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

"But a lot of children are coming in with reports of sexual abuse, mostly cases of incest, molestation, rape and even physical abuse," she said.

Police spokesman, Inspector Atunaisa Sokomuri said, "The loopholes in the law with regards to sexual offences were patched up in the Crimes Decree 2009."

"The number of reports of sexual abuse received has increased because of the awareness campaigns by police and other non - government organisations," Insp Sokomuri said.

But we reiterate that adult supervision is needed for children and girls between 13 and 16 years old who become victims of defilement, as this case has increased this year compared to last year."


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