As part of continued efforts to raise awareness on the issue of child sexual abuse, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF), together with the Ministry of Social Development, schools within St. George and representatives from the Child Protection Authority (CPA), engaged in a demonstration from Tanteen to the National Cricket Stadium last week Friday, calling for an end to child sexual abuse and encouraging victims to report cases.
The marchers were addressed by Deputy Inspector of Police, Terrence Mason who had a warning to child molesters.
“Molesters we want to let you know the statute of limitation is zero when it comes to sex offences and (at) the CID, we pledge, will hunt you down, find you and will bring you to justice,” he said.
The RGPF has confirmed that the vast majority of child sexual abuse takes place within the home and family circle, presenting a huge challenge for police investigators.
Speaking at a brief ceremony at the Tanteen Netball Court, the Deputy Inspector said, the focus now must be to bring perpetrators to justice and assist victims in dealing with the after effects of mental trauma, et cetera.
“Putting a perpetrator in jail, just to prevent him from committing further crimes does absolutely nothing for victims of such crimes. We plead (to) our nation’s citizens to not condone such acts,” he declared.
The police officer stressed that while “the CID would not remain as mere spectators while you (children) are victimised…the duty to protect our nation’s children is not just merely with the police.”
He warned that when persons are aware of these outrageous acts against children and remain silent about it, “your silence makes you as despicable, as the perpetrators of those crimes.”
According to statistics from the Child Protection Authority (CPA), in 2017, there were a total of 118 reported cases of child sexual abuse.
Child Protection Officer at the Child Protection Authority (CPA), Anderson Richardson said, these statistics are quite worrying and exhorted victims to continue to speak out.
“We had 118 cases last year; 118 cases is too much,” he said.
However, this figure is said to be much higher as the RGPF indicated that between January and June 2017, more than 150 cases had been reported.
Last month, Social Development Minister, Delma Thomas, met with the Commissioner of Police to discuss the way forward in setting up a specialised unit with specially trained personnel to deal with victims of sexual abuse.
In providing an update on the discussions, Minister Thomas told the gathering that “we do have trained officers already”.
“We will also set up a hotline and at present, the Legal Affairs department is looking at the offender’s registry”, she said.
In recent years, sex crimes have dominated the Criminal Assizes, with a total of 55 cases down for adjudication in the ongoing Assizes.