The Grenada National Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) is concerned about the prevalence of cases of sexual offences on minors in Grenada.
The recent sexual offence on a five year old girl by a forty-four year old man is despicable. This brings home once again that our children are at serious risk of being harmed by sexual predators in our society whose behaviour is devious and dangerous.
Sexual abuse and other forms of abuse cause long term damage which often result in tragic consequences like alcoholism, drug dependency, emotional and mental health problems and an inability to form healthy and meaningful relationships.
Children who have been affected by abuse can themselves grow up to be abusers if they do not receive appropriate psychological help.
GNCRC is calling for:
(1). A Sex Offenders Register. This would ensure that anyone convicted of sexual crimes would be known. This is one way of safeguarding children as communities would be more vigilant.
(2). Stiffer penalties for perpetrators of sexual crimes.
(3). Sex offences to be ineligible for bail. If bail is granted there must be restrictions attached regarding movement e.g. the accused must not be allowed to be within a specified distance from institutions that children attend, must not live in same household as children or be employed in a job where children are present. The accused should also be monitored by the requirement to present themselves at a police station on a weekly basis.
(4). GNCRC is also calling for robust efforts to be made for the treatment and rehabilitation of sex offenders. In all cases, there should be a thorough assessment done on the likelihood of re-offending and whether any further risk is posed to children. This assessment must be completed prior to the release of sex offenders from prison.
Finally, GNCRC wishes to applaud members of the judiciary who have dealt seriously with matters of sexual offences with the imposition of the maximum penalties for such crimes.
We call on the general public to continue to be vigilant, caring and responsible and to report all cases of abuse against our vulnerable children.