At least 8 cases of sex with people under 16 reported daily

Observer staff reporter

Friday, November 16, 2018

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SUPERINTENDENT Charmaine Shand, head of the constabulary's Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA), says the issue of people having sex with persons under 16 years old continues to be a challenge.

In fact, she said yesterday that at least eight cases of sexual intercourse with a person under the age 16 are reported in the parishes of Kingston and St Andrew daily.

The superintendent said, too, that the offence, which is a breach of the Sexual Offences Act, is usually reported after the teenager has been impregnated.

“The majority of cases reported to CISOCA accounted for sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. Some of these cases are referred to... Child Diversion Programme [which] is merely a programme that keeps child offenders from the penal justice system and introduces them to a reform system that offers counselling and seeks to steer them on a path which will enable them to understand the implications of engaging in early sexual activities,” the CISOCA head said.

The superintendent of police made the revelation at The University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona/UNESCO Philosophy Day at The UWI in Kingston yesterday.

Students from St Andrew Technical, Meadowbrook, Papine, Garvey Maceo, and Waterford high schools participated in the activities, which were conducted under the theme: “No Abuse, No Harm: Each Child is the Future”.

“The Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse is primarily concerned with the investigation of sex crimes against children. Some of the offences that we investigate are rape, sexual intercourse with a person under 16, incest, grievous sexual assault, buggery, sexual touching, sexual grooming, forcible abduction... so up to October 31, 2018, CISOCA appreciated 1,700 reports of sexual offences and child abuse and these are against children. There is another figure that includes adults, with Kingston and St Andrew accounting for over 800,” Shand said.

“Whilst we conduct investigations into matters that are reported, we aim to create an atmosphere that will encourage persons to make reports to enhance the rehabilitation of victims through counselling and to conduct public education programmes in school,” she added.

Meanwhile, minister of state in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information Floyd Green urged the students to abstain from sexual activities.

Responding to a question posed by Waterford High student Tristan Chin, Green explained that every act of having sex with a person below the age of 16 is a crime.

Green, who is also an attorney, said: “Even if you had sex 10 times and then on the 11th time she makes a report, right? If she reports that 11th time is a crime; if she reports all of the 11 times, every one is a crime. So it's 11 counts... so you have to appreciate that it is a serious thing.

“Don't rush these things. Let me tell you, it's not running away, and I am going to be honest with you, there is much more. Don't rush it because some of the problems, it's not worth it. So even when we say Child Diversion (Programme), it don't make sense you going to have to get somebody to counsel you... Don't rush it,” the minister urged the students.

The minister also made it clear that their desire to engage in sexual activities is natural.

“Life is there, don't worry. If it is that you are looking for, don't worry about it; it will come, leave it alone,” he continued.

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