Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sex crimes up

Police say young, even grannies, targeted


SEXUAL assault is definitely on the increase in Papua New Guinea with even minors falling victim, The National reports.

Even grandmothers had fallen prey to sadistic behaviours.

And, one in every two women had been sexually assaulted, police said at a workshop in Lae on sexual violence. They fear the percentage could be higher.

This included married women who were forced to have sex with their husbands against their will.

Officer-in-charge of the sexual offences squad in Port Moresby, Det-Sgt Tinol Pakiapon made the comments during the first of a series of sexual offences workshop at the Bumbu barracks in Lae.

Pakiapon was, last year, recognised by the Australasian Council of Women and Policing in its annual excellence in policing awards for his commitment towards improving the response to victims of sexual assault.

In an incident in the National Capital District five years ago, a man was charged with forcing his penis into the mouth of a six-month-old child. The offender was charged with sexual penetration.

Even men and boys were victims of sexual offences but, according to Pakiapon, because of societal norms that gave rise to the notion “men must be men”, most men do not speak out for fear of being stigmatised.

Very young boys were also forced to take part in or were sodomised and, out of fear, many kept quiet about their ordeal and did not speak up.

Many of the victims, both male and female, were traumatised by these experiences and, just having to go through the process of police interviews and appearing in court, made them re-live these traumas.

According to Pakiapon, the three-day meeting on sexual offences provided police prosecutors, magistrates, public solicitors, health care workers, community-based corrections and medical practitioners with a comprehensive overview of the importance of a coordinated response to victims of sexual assault and a greater understanding of legislative requirements.

The Lae Family Support Centre reported receiving between 30 and 50 cases of sexual assaults a month and attending to more than 5,000 patients since 2007.

Police said they were only seeing the tip of the iceberg, about 10% who reported these matters to them but they believed 90% of cases went unreported.

Officer-in-charge of administration with the office of the public prosecutor Nicholas Miviri said the number of sexual offences was increasing because of its prevalence and prominence on the courts criminal listing alongside murder, wilful murder and robbery.

The focus of the meeting was also to provide better services for victims and to help them to settle back into their communities.

Pakiapon said police attitudes in handling such cases “also need to change” so that more people, who are sexually abused, could come out and seek retribution in the courts.


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