United Nations: ‘Bring Paedophiles and Enablers to Book!’Mar 18, 2015
KINGSTON, 18 March 2015 – The United Nations (UN) in Jamaica is urging the nation to take a zero tolerance approach to the crisis of paedophiles preying on children.
UN agencies working on the issue – UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, UNAIDS, UN Women and UNESCO -said the recent cases reported by the media point to the long-standing and deeply alarming issue of sexual abuse facing children, and adolescent girls in particular, in Jamaica.
Key statistics underscore the horrific scale of the problem:
· In 2013, the total number of sexual abuse cases reported to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) was 3,386. Of these, 92% were girls, and more than half of the cases were carnal abuse (sex with children under 16 years of age).
· According to data from the National Reproductive Health Survey 2008, 34 percent of adolescent girls reported that their first sexual encounter was coerced, that is their first experience of sexual intercourse was an act of rape.
· According to the latest national data, 1 in every 5 five sexually active Jamaican girls, aged 15-19 years, has reported being forced to have sex.
· Recent research indicates that only 1 in 10 adult Jamaicans report cases of child abuse, including sexual abuse, despite knowing about the abuse.
“Efforts to prevent and reduce teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections and sexual violence against children are severely compromised when individuals and communities fail to report cases of abuse and when predators are not prosecuted with urgency,” said Arun Kashyap, the UN Resident Coordinator.
Kashyap also said pointing fingers at victims is unacceptable. “Sex with children is always a form of abuse. The children are never to blame.”
In addition to supporting various government initiatives (including development of policies and legislation) to protect the rights of girls, the UN agencies have, since last year, been supporting a new initiative by non-governmental organization EVE for Life to address the challenges of sexual violence within select communities in St. Ann, St. James and Westmoreland.
The programme, called “Nuh Guh Deh”, will focus on urging these communities to take specific actions to prevent the covering up of sexual activities with children and to hold perpetrators accountable. “Nuh Guh Deh” was officially launched on November 25, 2014 in recognition of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as part of the UN Agencies “UNITE” campaign, which aims to address the global pandemic of violence against women and girls. On that occasion UN Agencies in Jamaica gave a public commitment to the “Nuh Guh Deh” campaign, which aims to increase awareness about the long term physical, emotional, financial, health and social consequences of sexual abuse of young girls and the links to HIV. It is expected that a key outcome will be to mobilise Jamaicans to report acts of violence against girls.
“Nuh Guh Deh” emerged from EVE for Life’s extensive experience working with young survivors of sexual violence, many of whom became pregnant and also contracted HIV as a result of this violence. The support provided has empowered and enabled many survivors to break free of the violence and abuse. The UN is confident that this programme will help mobilise Jamaicans to report on sexual violence against girls.