Director of the Childcare and Protection Agency Ann Greene says there needs to be more changes in the way Police investigate cases of sexual abuse as she reiterated her call for the establishment of a Special Victims Unit (SVU).
Greene is particularly upset that the Police release perpetrators after 72 hours without seeking a High Court order to extend that time so that they can effectively investigate child sex cases.
“To the best of my knowledge, the 72 hours is to bring charges and if you need more time you could approach the Court to hold the alleged perpetrators for a longer time. This is hardly ever done in sexual abuse cases of children.
“The alleged perpetrators are let out of custody at the end of the 72 hours and they walk away from the cases and even from the country sometimes. This results in difficulties for the victims and a number of victims are in protective care for years waiting on the investigation to be completed and the case brought to the court,” the Childcare Director said on Wednesday during a virtual rally which was held to observe Child Protection Week.
She said, “There is a report where the mother of a child that was sexually abused by the step-father followed the perpetrator, who had run from the case to a neighbouring country backtrack. Then she left to go live with him there and made two children for him.”
According to Greene, this and other challenge have resulted in over 800 cases across the country that are still at the investigation level and this is why a Special Victims Unit is needed.
“Once again I am extending an appeal for a Special Victims Unit – a quick response unit – in the Police Force, a type of collaborative unit staffed with specially trained police officers, social services officers including child protection officers and public health officers to facilitate speedy investigations to bring sexual perpetrators of children to justice and also work at preventing child abuse,” Greene noted.