1,000 boys, girls suffered from sexual abuse in 2016

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, November 02, 2017

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MORE than 1,000 Jamaican children were the victims of sexual offences in 2016.

The alarming figures were disclosed at a briefing held yesterday at the Regional Headquarters of the University of the West Indies in St Andrew by UNICEF Jamaica to share findings of a report on violence against children.

According to data presented by Rochelle Clarke-Grey, acting director in the Research and Evaluation Unit at the Ministry of National Security, there were 1,147 reported cases of sexual offences against children across 10 parishes.

A breakdown of the data showed that 56 girls between the ages one and 10 were raped last year, another 295 between 11 to 17 years, and 337 aged 18. The ages of 27 children were not stated. For sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16, 11 of the victims were between one and 10; while 327 were 11 years and over. Six children between the ages one and 10 experienced grievous sexual assault; five between the ages 11 and 17 and nine were 18 years.

There were two reported cases of incest against girls between one and 10 years, nine incidents involving girls 11 to 17 years of age, and one involving a victim of 18 years. Four victims between the ages one to 10 reported some other sexual offence, another 14 between the ages of 11 to 17 years, and seven 18-year-olds.

Meanwhile, 14 boys between the ages one to 10 were buggered, 12 between 11 and 17 years, while eight of the boys were 18 years. There was one reported case of incest involving a boy between the ages one and 10 and two reported cases of sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years old.

At the same time, 36 children were murdered in 2016, 30 of them boys. And a total of 119 children were shot and injured — 86 boys, 33 girls.

Of the 119 shooting cases, seven were characterised as gang-related, 15 categorised as criminal, while robbery accounted for one. The majority of shooting cases involving child victims were not categorised, with a classification labelled “not yet established”.

Yesterday, Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green said for too long researches have been done and the data, findings and recommendations presented, but there has been a failure to implement.

“…We oftentimes don't have a problem of research; we have a problem of implementation. We've never had a problem of talk; we've had a problem of implementation. So it must be now that we're moving towards action and I can tell you people from my generation who I associate with are fed up and they want to see action, especially in relation to our children,” Green said.

He added that his Government has started to act, but noted that there is more to be done. Jamaica, he added, has signed on to the global partnership to end violence against children.

“We (Government of Jamaica) held up our hand and said we will be a pathfinder country that will put forward solutions and will say to the world this how it can be done and it's not beyond us,” the minister said.

He added that a national plan of action, now in the draft stage, will be rolled out shortly to help treat with the current situation.

UNICEF representative to Jamaica Mark Connolly, said the data was being presented to bring about awareness and change.

“This is not an exercise to name and shame or show scary numbers on how bad thing are. This is an exercise to examine the evidence, like any good public health practitioner does, a good politician does so that we can inform our responses,” he said.

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