The Eastern Division of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has taken a stand against sexual violence involving minors and is in the process of doing everything possible to educate youths on how to respond to such incidences if ever they occur.
As part of the sensitisation process, the Eastern Division organised a march against sexual related crimes against minors throughout the Town of Grenville last week Thursday involving all schools in the immediate vicinity of Grenville, St. Andrew.
Organiser of the event, Sergeant Roy Nelson, who is attached to the Grenville Police Station said, the march became necessary because of the current trend of sexual abuse of children.
Speaking to reporters following the March, Sgt. Nelson said the Division has noticed an increase in crimes against children.
“Overall we have seen an increase. Every week, every month there have been some reports of some sexual offences against children and we thought it was too much and we are addressing the situation today to let persons know that we are aware of it and are ready and willing to do something about it”, he added.
Expressing his disgust with the situation, Sgt. Nelson, who was not in a position to provide exact statistics said: “I am fed up with what our children have to undergo and the result of some of the offences and so we (the Eastern Division) thought it best to address the situation.
“We (have) addressed Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to talk to our parents and remind them of their responsibilities and today we saw it fit to involve the children so that if ever it happens to them they know what to do and how to respond to deal with the matter appropriately”, he remarked.
The middle-rank police officer pointed to instances “where parents accept it (such nonsense) sometimes for their own benefit at the hands of the little children”.
This, he said is an issue which has already been addressed at PTA meetings.
“What we found out is that some of the parents are allowing these things to happen in their homes and so we want to address the situation…and what we have to do now is to act”, he added.
The Sergeant of Police pointed out that because the children are the ones who are suffering “they must know what to do and accept from people, especially those within the confines of the family.”
“We really appreciate the efforts of the schools for accepting the invitation to be a part of the march because they too have some issues with what is happening.
“…We are starting now and if it continues we will continue to voice our opinion and disgust with what is happening.
He issued a reminder to parents that “emotionally distraught children will most likely grow up to become emotionally distraught adults so we are trying to curb the situation.”
He issued a word of caution to parents that “if they see, suspect or hear something to report the matter so that it can be dealt with.”
Sgt. Nelson warned that “if parents fail to report the issue they can be charged and upon conviction they can be fined a maximum of $15,000 or face up to seven (7) years in prison.”
He said the Police Force will not take joy in putting parents in jail, but if they fail to protect the children who they are in charged of and are supposed to protect “we have no choice but to take them to court”.
Sgt. Nelson was optimism that the day’s event got the message across to the general populace.
“I hope that the message was received…we want to send a strong message to persons who prey on little children that we are not going to tolerate it. Zero tolerance and we are saying today to stop every sexual crime against children now,” he said.
He also indicated that plans are in the making to conduct similar march against sexual related crimes against minors in the future.