Reported cases of child sexual abuse are up 42 percent over last year, according to Deputy Director of Social Services Carolyn Hepburn.
Hepburn revealed to The Nassau Guardian yesterday that so far for 2010, 118 cases have been reported, up from 83 in the same period last year.
“That is primarily due to the enactment of the Child Protection Act 2007 in October last year. So therefore persons are mandated by law to report abuse and we find that children are stepping forward, relatives and concerned individuals are becoming more vigilant,” Hepburn said.
Of the 118 reported child sexual abuse cases, 26 have been recorded in New Providence and 92 in the Family Islands.
Chairman of the National Child Protection Council Pastor Gil Maycock said he believes child sexual abuse is far greater than what is being reported.
“We do have an alarming epidemic in our nation and it drives me crazy,” he said. “These numbers seem to be increasing over the last three or four years. They just seem to be going up. We do know in certain pockets in The Bahama Islands we are having serious problems. The Council plans to travel to at least 10 or 11 Family Islands for the remainder of 2010 to get that message out (that children are off limits) and we know it is an uphill battle.”
Last year, there were 218 reported cases of child sexual abuse in the country. Of that number, 155 were recorded in New Providence, with the remaining 63 reported in the Family Islands.
By the time you finish reading this, 15 children will have been abused; In the next five minutes, 30 more; Within the next hour, 360 more; And by tonight, close to 8,000+ children will have suffered from abuse, 5 of which will die. Child abuse has increased 134% since 1980 and is now considered a worldwide epidemic. The high jump in child abuse deaths and the shocking increase in statistics highlights the frightening lack of public knowledge.
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It May Just Save a Child's Life!!