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Richard Browne

Assistant Commissioner of Police, Richard Browne. (iWN file photo)

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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.

Browne said:

“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.”

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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.

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3 replies on “Increase in sex crimes reports in SVG”

  1. There is certainly a large discrepancy between reports that reach the police and actual incidences of the sexual exploitation of minors which makes itdifficult to say whether the rate of reports, or the rate of incidences, or both have gone up over the years.

    My own feeling (based on no real evidence) is that the actual occurrence of underage sexual abuse has not gone up as much as its being reported to the authorities perhaps because in earlier years the mothers and other close relatives were more easily bought off because there was greater indigence and because a financial payment was seen as a legitimate way for the family to gain satisfaction for the crime.

    I still recall jokingly asking a neighbour of mine decades ago what she would do if I tampered with one of her young daughters. Her reply was that she would demand I give her a cattle as compensation.

    Sexual crimes, especially incest, were also treated as a private affair in an earlier era with the usual punishment being a ritual effigy hanging, a community-based ceremonial event that seems to be fairly rare these days.

    Mr. Browne is also correct when he implies that girls are reaching the age of menarche (first menstruation) earlier all the time which often makes them an eager participant in sexual relations even though they are too emotionally and intellectually immature to do so. Indeed, many such girls are the instigators of sexual relations with boys their own age (or even younger) and are easily enticed to have sex with someone much older, in which case the older boy or man should still be punished to the full extent of the law even if the girl has been sexually active in the past.

  2. Well how about carrying out a proper investigation into the many allegations against the prime minister going back many years?

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