Region 5 records significant increase in statutory rape
Regional Commander for Region Five (Mahaica – Berbice), Senior Superintendent Kurleigh Simon, is calling on parents to be more cautious with their children as the region has reported a significant increase in statutory rape for this year.
Statutory rape refers to non-forcible sexual activity in which one of the individuals is below the age of consent. The law states that no one under the age of 16 can consent to have sex.
Commander Simon, during a recent episode of the ‘Police and You’ programme, noted that statutory rape is the major crime that his division is being confronted with.
“When we look at other serious crimes -murders, robberies, burglary, break and enter and larceny – those figures are actually in the negative but contrastingly, we have a 300 per cent increase in rape,” Commander Simon said.
As of May 31, 2021, there were only three reported cases of rape in the region but when compared to the same period for this year, there have been 12 reported cases.
“The issue continues to be children below the age of consent being involved in sexual activity, of those 12 reported cases, 10 are of a statutory nature, meaning the female is below the stipulated age of consent,” the Commander said.
Further, of the 10 statutory rape cases, seven include both the male and female being teenagers.
To counter this, the police in the region are engaging the various communities and are being assisted by the School’s Welfare Department, Rights of the Child Commission, and the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Every month, we have a representative going around with the Rights of the Child Commission to various areas in the region to have those engagements.
“I could only appeal to parents to be more vigilant with their children and ask that the wider community take on that responsibility of giving good guidance,” the Commander said.
He noted that these cases are only reported to police when the parents learn that their children are involved in sexual activities.
Commander Simon is also encouraging other agencies and organisations to get on board and help combat this issue.
The Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, in December 2020, launched a 914-emergency hotline aimed at eliminating violence against women and girls in Guyana.
The 24-hour hotline provides emotional support, crisis counselling, and other support mechanisms to domestic and sexual violence victims.
It should also be noted that persons can call the Childcare and Protection Agency (CPA) directly to report incidents of rape.