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14 sexual assault cases reported in Bartica; Holistic approach needed to address issue- Police

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The Guyana Police Force has noted that there is need for a holistic approach to address sexual assault in the mining town of Bartica in Region Seven.

Responding to an article published in the Wednesday (June 28, 2017) edition of the Guyana Chronicle, under the caption “Rape gang tormenting Bartica teens …probe launched, group urges action”, the GPF disclosed that it has received 14 reports of sexual assaults committed on females in the town over the past six months.

The article which alluded to a gang of men luring 13, 14 and 15-year-olds school girls and in some cases drugging them before taking them to hotels, did point out that some cases are not reported. However, quoting President of the Guyana Women Miners Organisation (GWMO) Urica Primus, it was noted that many of the cases are not reported: “due to many cases not going to trial.”

The police stated that out of the 14 reported cases, 10 of those matters are currently before the courts; one was dismissed for want of prosecution; two sent for legal advice and one, advice obtained and the suspect who is no longer residing in the area, is being sought.

The Force claimed that once information/complaint is received with respect to the subject matter, a probe is conducted and advice sought without delay.

“The issue alluded to in the article is one that needs the holistic effort of key players and stakeholders in society to combat this situation of which the Police have already been working in tandem with the Child Care & Protection Agency along with the School Welfare Officers in trying to eliminate this problem.”

Additionally, it disclosed that its Divisional Commander along with the major personnel under his command has embarked on a number of Community Outreaches and Social Crime Prevention Programmes. The programmes target communities in Bartica and Itaballi among others to sensitise young people of the social ills of society and the importance of living healthy and productive lives.

The spin-off of these activities has so far yielded the formation of youth groups, regular lectures to Schools on Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Programmes and reduction in teenage pregnancy, according to the police. There has also been improved police/public relations and the seizures of more than 12 kilogrammes of illegal drugs and twenty-one firearms, resulting in a number of persons being arrested and charged with various offences.

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