Over 3,500 child abuse cases reported for 2021; mothers most culpable

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By Isanella Patoir

Isanella@newsroom.gy

In 2021, a total of 3, 691 child abuse cases were reported, representing a 17.9 per cent increase when compared to the previous year and it was found that mothers are among the leading perpetrators.

Data from the Childcare and Protection Agency reveals that of the cases reported, it was found that more girls were abused when compared to boys.

According to the data, 2, 345 cases of abuse against girls were reported when compared 1,346 cases of abuse against boys.

Child neglect accounted for the majority with 1, 529 reports; this was followed by child sexual abuse with 1, 128 cases.

“The highest rate of the abuse reported is neglect, that always stands out where they have parents not doing the things they ought to do to protect them,” Director of the agency, Ann Greene said during an interview with the News Room on Monday.

Director of Child Services, Ann Greene

Greene explained that leaving a child unprotected makes them more vulnerable to being abused and sexually exploited. But what is of concern, is the high child sexual abuse rate.

“This is alarmingly high, for child sexual abuse and it is both boys and girls,” the Childcare Director stated.

Reports of girls who were sexually abused totalled 1, 128 while, 152 reports of boys being sexually abused were reported.

Perpetrators

As it relates to the overall cases of abuse, 1,376 reports are filed about mothers abusing their children.

“The perpetrators…that this abuse was perpetrated by mothers so they lead in this respect, the hurt for children is in the home.

“Yes, strangers do hurt children but it is very small ratio to look at strangers,” the Director said, noting that the majority of the perpetrators are a relative or is known to the child.

A total of 725 reports were about fathers abusing their children; 220 reports were made against step-parents; 158 against relatives while grandparents account for 83 of the cases; 32 reports were made against siblings, 23 against guardians, and strangers account for 73 reports and others, 663 cases.

The Childcare Director is urging persons to report child abuse and emphasised that once a report is made, an investigation will be conducted.

Intervention

A total of 2, 060 children were given counselling in 2021, 888 cases received police intervention, 91 were placed before the court and 53 children were removed from abusive homes and placed either in institutional care or with other relatives.

Fifty-one children were placed in institutional care, 36 were placed with relatives and 71 were put into foster care. A number of children were also reunited with families and reintegrated in society. According to the data, 42 were reunited and 24 were reintegrated.

It must be noted that 2, 760 children were prevented from being separated from their families.

Families were also provided with parental counselling, this included 131 parents; 41 received poverty assistance and 39 homeless families were also given assistance.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that 170 teenage pregnancies were reported in 2021.

Regional breakdown

A further breakdown of the reported cases of child abuse revealed that Region Four reported the majority of the cases with 1,490 cases. This was followed by Region Three with 583, then Region Six with 475 reports and Region Five with 369 cases.

Both Regions One and Two each reported 186 cases. A total of 165 reports were from Region Ten and Region Seven reported 133. Regions Eight and Nine recorded the lowest number with six and 86 respectively.

Of the 3, 691 reported cases, only 107 matters were successfully prosecuted.

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