Sexual matters dominate reported child abuse cases

sex abuseThere was a staggering 135 reported cases of child sexual abuse in Dominica in 2014, Coordinator of the Child Abuse Prevention Unit, Jemma Azille Lewis has revealed.

In total there were 175 reported cases of child abuse on the island, with girls shouldering the lion’s share of abuse cases.

Statistics reveal that a total of 155 girls were abused in Dominica last year.

Of the sexual cases, five were boys and 130 were girls.

“I broke down the sexual abuse seeing that it is the main form of abuse being reported: boys 5, girls 130 in terms of sexual abuse,” Azille-Lewis said. “Incest 20, that is sexual abuse within the family and teen pregnancy we had only nine reported cases.”

The other forms of abuse were physical, 24, neglect, 7, neglect combined with physical, 4.

“So keep in mind we had a 170 cases child abuse incidents reported for 2014. In terms of children from 0-5 years being abused 24, 6-10 years of age 38, 11-15 years 101 and 16-17 years of age 7 cases,” she stated. “We look at child abuse by gender boys (male) 15 cases, female 155 cases.”

In the face of such numbers the Child Abuse Prevention Unit is facing many challenges.

“We do have a few challenges, such as the lack of resources, both human and technical, inadequate legislation,” Azille-Lewis noted. “We have the Sexual Offenses Act which is of 1998 and there needs to be a review of it to ensure that we are up to date.”

Additionally weak enforcement of existing legislation is posing a serious problem.

“For example, if you have somebody that is found guilty of a sexual offense and you can take up to 25 years or 14 years (in prison), why is that you only pay a fine of $3,000?” she asked. “Why is it that you only take maybe a prison confinement of three months of six months and do community service for the rest?”

The absence of a family court, parents refusing to testify in court or taking bribes also pose major problems..

“We have incest cases that have just gone down the drain. We have all different forms of cases, pregnancy issues, where teenagers become pregnant and the cases die,” Azille-Lewis lamented.

Meanwhile she noted that the Social Welfare Division has moved up a step but there is still room for improvement.

“I remember just coming in into the Social Welfare Division, some agencies were not really interested in reporting anything,” Azille-Lewis stated. “We have had better collaboration with some childcare agencies, of course, there is need for improvement but we have moved up a step from where we were.”

She added, “We have definitely increase support from the CID (Criminal Investigation Department), greater public awareness on child abuse matters. A lot more people are reporting and coming to us about the issue. There is increase support by the general public in dealing with child abuse matters.”

She mentioned further that the Welfare Division have been successful in finding homes for abused children

“Also another success is that we have the home for children at risk, which is CHANCES, so in case that we don’t get foster placement immediately, we can place them in the institution in Jimmit … in the meantime we look for a foster care placement,” Azille-Lewis noted.

However challenges remain.

“When the children are abused and they are teenagers then nobody wants to foster a teenage child, so we still have this challenge there,” she noted.

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13 Comments

  1. Wispering Death
    March 5, 2015

    castrated for the very first charge.

  2. Focus
    March 5, 2015

    Usually when we hear of sexual abuse we think of some strange man grabbing a child and raping/molesting them. We need to look closer. Most times these children are abused by people that are close to them or the family. Many times the culprits are family members and babysitters. Do not look past fathers, uncles, boyfriends, neighbors, step fathers, cousins, family friends. I have a friend who told me that his mother use to let a young lady babysit him when he was younger and she’s the one who showed him how to have sex at a very young age. That goes to say, don’t look past women either, because they, although less often, can rape too. Parents, know your children and try to be your own watchdog.

  3. Shaka zulu
    March 4, 2015

    Introducing new laws is not going to help if we do not enforce the ones curently on the books. You guys have been doing a good job the fact that more people are reporting and speaking out. I have kids of my own and God knows i will take law in my hands if anyone mess with them. This madness has to stop. Where are the voices of our leaders who think crime is only drug dealing. We are a broken society and the sooner we accept that fact the sooner we will start solving those social ills.

    • March 12, 2015

      As a father and a grandfather I get quite angry when I hear of sexual child abuse.

      I don’t want to see people taking the law into their own hands. At the same time I can see where some of the cases I read about would make it very tempting.

      It would help if:

      (1) Governments would make it legally mandatory to report to the police every case of known child abuse.

      (2) There was a severe penalty for NOT reporting a case of child abuse.

      (3) The police would investigate EVERY case that is reported and lay a charge when there is sufficient evidence.

      (4) The media would cover EVERY trial and report on the trial when there is a CONVICTION. The name of the victim should NOT be made known.

      (5) When a guilty verdict is handed down the public should know the sentence and be allowed to decide if it fits the crime. Sad to say there have been some rather whimpy judges. In New York there were two fellows referred to as ”Cut ’em loose Bruce” and ”Let ’em go Joe.”

  4. Efficatious
    March 4, 2015

    The penalty does not have to be too hash only 9 months will do. If you notice when they come out of prison they all wear dark glasses. They receive the same abuse from inmates like they do to the women,so its down to the ladies when they come out of prison, they are half a man

  5. Hmmmm
    March 4, 2015

    I want to know what happens when a minor is pregnant and her parents do not want to press charges. Can’t the state act on behalf of the minor?

  6. March 4, 2015

    The prison sentence is a slap on the wrist/hands…that law is “bull ” throw it down the drain,i am sure that if the prime minister’s child or any other minister’s child is sexually abused the offenders will receive a hasher sentence….as a matter of fact any body who have done such a crime ,no matter how long should be severely punished with a very long term imprisonment if possible make it life because a child sex offender will die as a rapist …zandoly knows on which gate to lay down …because in no way someone can rape my child and remain alive…my child will feel the pain for life ,so my revenge on that criminal will fit for life…the gov’t should open an institution to welcome these kids in care …this is a matter that should be taken very seriously..

  7. Yawn
    March 4, 2015

    I find Dominica has so many lawyers and up to now we can’t get this right? Protect the children. All of us must play a part.

  8. Its my damn business
    March 4, 2015

    DNO what about the case between Opposition Leader Lennox Linton against the 17 government ministers? Do you know the date? I just cannot wait for that much anticipated case so we could set an example to others, one way or the other.

  9. Efficatious
    March 4, 2015

    We won’t get much comments on this subject,rest day for culprits,we got our eyes on” you”

  10. Neutral
    March 4, 2015

    A much brutal penalty should be imposed on these culprits. Also they should be registered as child abuse molestors so that the general public are aware/known of them.

    • Way 2go
      March 4, 2015

      Like facing a firing squard would be fine by me, How about you reader?
      So all infantile Panty men be ware! Like 72000 dislike 135 lol the latter is equal to the # of abuse cases.
      Lol if you get my drift

  11. TRUTH
    March 4, 2015

    That is why after a prison confinement of three months with community service men still continue to practice their nasty habits. There needs to be enforcement of the full penalty.

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