St. Vincent and the Grenadines is seeing an increase in reports of sex crimes, says Assistant Commissioner of Police Richard Browne.
He was asked at the launch of the Sexual Offences Unit in Kingstown on Wednesday whether these cases were statutory rape, incest, or rape.
“I would just say that most of the offences that we have on our books now are offences of unlawful sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 13 and we know that those — I can’t find the right word right now, the word is in my head, but I can’t find it. The hormones then that work in the young ladies and the lack of guidance as well in the homes is part of our problem.
“We are going to try our best not only to investigate but to inform the public, to try and reach schools, talk to the children in the school, try to educate them along these lines. Some many say sexual education. But we are going to try our best to reduce those incidents of unlawful sexual intercourse with girls under the age of 13.”
He said that in cases of unlawful sexual intercourse there are some instances where persons settle these matters outside of the court.
“But there is not a lot.”
The senior police officer said persons are willing to report sex crimes.
“Because matters of a sexual nature have no timeline in which you can report or not report these matters, we have matters that may come up from way back when.
“And once they are reported, we have to investigate them and we are seeing persons more willingly coming forward to give reports of this nature.”
The senior officer, however, said he was unable to say what the conviction rate is.
Meanwhile, acting Commissioner of Police Colin John told the event that in cases where the evidence of sexual assault is manifested when an underage girl turns up to deliver a baby at the hospital, the police also try their best to get the information.
“In some cases, we will do all that we, legally, can do, but the child may just refuse to say who they had sex with. You cannot extract the evidence from them, you cannot force them to say who they had sex with.”
He said that to some extent the law says that a parent is responsible for their children but noted the additional consideration.
“Let’s say a young lady leaves home, the mother sends her to school. Instead of going to school she gets involved in sexual intercourse, she gets pregnant, the mother asks her who she had sexual intercourse with, she refuses to answer. What can you do legally to obtain that information?” the police chief said.