Alarming increase in rape cases this year

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The Guyana Police Force is reporting an alarming increase in sexual assault cases for the year thus far.

Statistics released on Wednesday saw a 47.5 per cent increase in rape cases between January 1 and September 6, 2021. The report states that for the same period in 2020 141 rape reports were made while for this year, 208 cases were reported.

Some 78 people were charged this year – a 21.9 per cent increase from the 64 in 2020.

The government has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls in Guyana. The Ministry of Human Service and Social Security launched a 914 emergency hotline in December 2020. The 24-hour hotline provides emotional support, crisis counselling, and other support mechanisms to domestic and sexual violence victims. The hotline was launched as a result of the significant decline in the reporting of violence and child abuse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The European Union (EU) also donated $1B to the government last year which saw the launch of a spotlight initiative aimed tackling gender-based and family violence over a period of three years.

In recent months, a number police stations have been rebuilt and remodeled to properly cater for victims of sexual and domestic abuse. Police ranks are also being trained to properly respond to reports of abuse.

Guyana’s sexual offences conviction rate saw massive improvements with the established of three Sexual Offences Court in Georgetown, Berbice and Essequibo.

The idea for the specialised courts was formed after reports found that the justice system was virtually failing victims of sexual violence, who were exposed to a hostile system.

Meanwhile, for the period January to August 2020 the Child Care & Protection Agency responded to 529 cases of child sexual abuse, inclusive of a six-month-old baby girl.

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