by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- 13% rise in sexual offences despite sensitisation drives
- Special Victims Unit headed by Inspector Andrea Victor
- Hotline number 400 will be activated on Monday, 24 September
New data indicates a 13% rise in sexual offences despite sensitisation drives and public outcry about its prevalence.
This has prompted the launch of a Special Victims Unit and Hotline to deal specifically with victims of sexual crimes, domestic violence, and child abuse. The unit consists of female officers attached to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and headed by Inspector Andrea Victor, who has over 20 years of experience in policing and training.
A special hotline was also launched under its ‘Stand 4 zero tolerance’ campaign where victims of sexual abuse can call for direct help. Hotline number 400 will be activated on Monday, 24 September.
Acting Commissioner Edvin Martin, updated the media on the statistics for 2018 as compared to previous year. “From the period of January to July 2018, the number of sexually related crimes have increased by 13% over the same period for 2017 moving from 230 to 259. First despite the fact that these crimes form a small percentage of our total reported crimes which averages between 2, 3 and 5% annually, the actual account for the vast majority of cases in the high court as a category from September 2018 assizes.” Sexual offences account for 67 of 148 cases before the court secondly in most cases the accused is known to the victim.
Martin also indicated that out of 259 cases involving 96 accused and 112 victims of which 57 percent are under the age of 16 with 3 males included. Greater emphasis will be placed on a comprehensive investigation and prosecution for perpetrators.
“We believe on the next level that a more aggressive investigative effort on reported cases will be the focus upon in order to bring perpetrators to justice quicker since the faster you have punishment for the crime the greater the deterrent effect,” he said.
With this hotline in place, people calling to report acts of sexual abuse can rest assured that their identity will remain anonymous.
Prime Minister and Minister for National Security, Dr Keith Mitchell believes more officers should be trained in handling sensitive cases involving victims of sexual abuse. “The training of people to deal with these issues is very crucial because every one of us grows up in an environment and if we are not sensitive to that particular problem they will never be the best person to help and support changes in that area. The RGPF needs to invest in training of personnel; it is not just to say let’s have more women, but a woman who is not sensitive to that sort of problem may not herself be the best person.”
Stakeholders involved in the ‘Stand 4 zero tolerance’ initiative are the Child Protection Authority, Flow Grenada and Hexive Creative Agency which heads the public relations and promotional campaign.
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