by Linda Straker
- 56 incest cases as of September 2020
- Significant increase in sexual offences during height of Covid-19 lockdown period
- Incest is sexual intercourse with blood relationship and adopted and stepchildren
Acting Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin has disclosed that there is a surge in incest matters for 2020 when compared to 2018 and 2019.
There were 56 incest cases as of September 2020, while from January to December 2018 there were 6 cases, with 8 cases from January to December 2019.
“The great concern for us here has to do with incest and sexual crimes of persons between the ages of 13 and 16. Incest is concerning because incest speaks to the fact that this more likely is happening at home, and the home, frankly, is the safest place for a child or an individual,” he said. Martin was at the time speaking on the Monday morning “Perspective” television programme.
He spoke about the crime situation in the country and provided data on criminal offences for 2020. “That is very disturbing, and we need to find ways in order to bring that under control.” He explained that the 56 cases do not involve 56 different individuals, because some perpetrators are facing multiple charges.
“The 56 cases do not imply 56 victims and perpetrators because our crime is classified that every act or incident between a person is rated as a crime. In this case, you may have the same victim and perpetrator (an in this case we have that) with multiple offences, each of which is categorised as a single crime. So, it is not that we have 56 increases in cases of different people.” He admitted that there is a need to investigate all types of sexual crimes, especially incest.
Whereas he was unable to provide data on the age and sex of victims of incest, the criminal code clearly defines incest as having sexual intercourse with blood relationship and adopted and stepchildren.
At a sexual abuse forum in September 2020, social workers shared data that indicated that was a significant increase in sexual offences during the height of the Covid-19 lockdown period.
The 2012 amendment to the criminal code states: “If a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person under 13 years of age who is by blood relationship his daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt or niece he commits an offence, namely incest, and is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years.
“If a male person has sexual intercourse with a female person above 13 years of age who is by blood relationship his daughter, granddaughter, mother, sister, aunt or niece commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 15 years.
“It is no defence to a charge of incest under this section that the female consented to the act of sexual intercourse,” the law states.
The amendment, which came after years of consultation, states “If a female person of the age of 16 years or over has consensual sexual intercourse with a male person who she knows is by blood relationship her father, grandfather, son, brother, uncle or nephew, she commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.” It is no defence to a charge of incest under this section that the male consented to the act of sexual intercourse.
A person of the age of 21 years or over who has sexual intercourse with a person under 13 years of age when this person is – (a) the adult’s adopted child, step-child, foster child, ward or dependent; or (b) not being the adult’s adopted child, step-child, foster child, ward or dependent is at the time of the intercourse living with the adult as a member of the family or is under the adult’s care or protection commits an offence and is liable on conviction on indictment to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years.