Lawmakers raise the red flag over rise in sexual abuse cases

Legislators have raised the red flag and called for swift and decisive action to check a spate of incidents of sexual abuse in the country, which, according to the 2015/16 National Human Rights Commission report, are on the rise.

Legislators have raised the red flag and called for swift and decisive action to check a spate of incidents of sexual abuse in the country, which, according to the 2015/16 National Human Rights Commission report, are on the rise.

The legislators say persistent concerns of failure to provide compensation for the victims needed special attention by justice sector, since there have been no efforts whatsoever to address it comprehensively.

 

The report, tabled before a joint session of MPs and Senators, on Tuesday, shows that out of 2,818 reported cases of sexual abuse, 1,879 of them (67 per cent) were about defilement.

 

“Access to justice means these victims should be able to get compensation from the offenders and that is why we are calling on lawmakers to help out on this since we have found that out of 100 cases tried in courts, only four filed for damages,” Madeleine Nirere, the chairperson National Commission for Human Rights, said.

 

Legislators resolved that court bailiffs should be involved in the execution of judgements while the Ministry of Justice will, among other things, be tasked to find means of instituting a fund that would cater for the compensation for offenders or perpetrators who failed to pay damages.

Nirere said that 11 institutions, both public and private, had been asked to work closely to mitigate the worrying trend of sexual abuses against children and women.

The report indicates that children as young as five years old fell victim of the crime wherenby 44,5 per cent of the victims were between the age of 15 to 17, while 5 per cent of the same case affected children between three and five years.

Although the cases are still high, they have gone down since 2010, when 2,562 cases were filed.

‘Slipping out of hand’

Reacting to the report, legislators tasked the National Human Rights Commission to advise the Government on the way forward, saying the matter was slipping out of hand and needed timely intervention from all concerned.

“The report shows that 15 per cent of the affected children said they were asked to share bedding with different family relatives, and ended up being sexually abused, how can this happen? ” wondered MP Jean Marie Vianney Gatabazi.

“The number is worrying; there is need to identify the ‘madness’ behind these crimes, because it is getting out of hand. What can be done, we will need to strategically address this issue with seriousness,” added Theobald Mporanyi, another MP who is a member of the committee in charge of patrimony and budget.

Drug abuse, according to the report, is the highest cause of defilement, followed by superstitions, where some people allegedly defiled children to cure certain illnesses or with conviction that it could bring fortune.

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