As of March 2021, the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA) was examining 334 cases of sex abuse across the 10 administrative regions. Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni) has recorded the highest number of cases followed by Region One (Barima-Waini).
In light of increasing child rape reports recorded in Region One, Director of the Child Care and Protection Agency (CC&PA), Ann Greene during a recent interview with this publication disclosed that a special team will soon be heading into the area to conduct awareness sessions.
Acknowledging that reports of child sex abuse have increased in Region One, Green said, “It has increased in terms of reports. When you do more activities in an area you can get more reports. It does not say that child abuse has increased now more than how it was.”
According to Greene, CC&PA has opened a child advocacy centre in the Barima-Waini region and is on the verge of opening another.
“We are soon leading a special team; we will be going in to do a special awareness in the areas where the increase is showing. [We want to get the] community on board. Child protection is everyone’s business.
“But the people in the community have to be much more vigilant to get these paedophiles and these child molesters. We have to change the attitude towards child sexual abuse.”
The CC&PA Director noted that it is the community members who have to stop child abuse and “stand up and watch out for children.” Against this backdrop, she related that trained professionals will address certain social norms and teach communities in the region about sexual regulation.
“A child should know early that sex is not supposed to be between daughter and father, brother and sister, uncle and aunt and all of that…,” Green said as she explained the concept of sexual regulation. She further acknowledged that there is a high level of sexual activity in Guyana’s hinterland regions which calls for increased collaborations with the Guyana Police Force.
While Greene admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic has to some extent affected the functioning of the CC&PA, she noted that given the mass vaccination campaigns, the agency will be ramping up its efforts to rid every community of child sex abuse.
Child rape reports
Child rape reports from Region One continue to increase based on information released by the Guyana Police Force. Thus far for 2021, there have been several reports of rape allegedly committed on underage girls by grown men, including close relatives.
In some instances, it was reported that the rape resulted in pregnancy. In late February, a close relative of a 10-year-old girl was arrested by the Police after he allegedly raped her while she was left in his care.
The child was reportedly left unconscious after the incident.
Based on a Police report, after the man committed the act, he reportedly threatened to kill the child if she reported the matter to anyone. Nevertheless, the violated child confided in her grandmother, who immediately lodged a report at the nearest Police station.
Also in February, it was reported that a 12-year-old girl from North West District (NWD) was pregnant after she was allegedly raped by a man over a period of time. It was reported that the incident took place in 2020. The Police, at the time, confirmed that the girl was five months pregnant.
In March, a security guard from Region One was taken into Police custody for allegedly raping a 14-year-old girl. Reports are that the incident occurred at Matthews Ridge, NWD, between January 1 and January 31. Police said that the teen and suspect are known to each other.
According to the Police, the suspect reportedly took the 14-year-old to his home and engaged in sexual intercourse with her. Ranks of the Matthews Ridge Police Station went to the suspect’s home and found the suspect and the teen together.
Meanwhile, in early April, the Police Force announced that an investigation into the rape of two underage girls in Region One was ongoing. Police said that the two girls under the age of 16 had been raped by adult males on different occasions. One of the girls was allegedly raped several times by a close family member.
According to Police, the suspect began engaging in sexual activity with the minor during December 2020 and committed the offence several times after. The girl eventually confided in a female relative, who immediately reported the matter to the Police.
In the second incident, the Police said the child alleged that on April 6, she was sexually assaulted.
The victim immediately informed a parent who subsequently reported the matter to Police. At the time of the report, checks were made for the suspect, but he was not found.
About a week ago, the GPF said that its ranks in Region One are currently investigating another sexual activity with a child by a family member.