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120 incest cases

By Andre Bagoo Friday, February 7 2014

THERE were 120 reported cases of incest with minors between 2011 and 2012, according to statistics released by the Police Service yesterday.

According to a press release on teenage pregnancies, issued by the Public Affairs Unit of the Police Service, in 2011 there were 95 reports of the offence, which is defined as sex between blood relations. In 2012 there were 25 reports.

The Police Service said there was a “100 percent detection rate” in relation to the offence, meaning all reported cases resulted in charges.

The Police Service also gave statistics on reports of cases of sex with minors. It said between 2011 to 2013 there were 331 reports of sexual intercourse with minors. Of these, 189, or 57 percent, resulted in charges.

In relation to sex with minors between the ages 14 to 16, there were 488 reports between 2011 and 2013. Of these, 243 resulted in charges.

Meanwhile, the Family Planning Association (FPA) yesterday weighed in on the ongoing discussion on the problem of teenage pregnancies in the wake of disclosure of statistics by Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh that on average there are 2,500 such pregnancies per year.

The FPA actually give its own statistics which indicated the figure could actually be higher. It said in the year 2000, 2,638 children, representing 15 percent of all live births in Trinidad and Tobago, gave birth. It said in 2013, the rate was 14.7 percent.

“Pregnancy in adolescence places an insurmountable barrier in the young woman’s path to competent adulthood,” it noted. The association linked the problem to attitudes about gender roles.

“Traditional gender-roles often trap young people into high-risk sexual behaviour,” it said. “Girls who get pregnant by boys or men, who say to them that they must prove their love by having sex; and boys who have had no guidance on how to be healthy, manly, and secure in their sexuality, so that they need not be aggressive and sexually coercive.”

The FPA, which offers family planning services, continued, “We see teenagers living in poverty and overcrowding. We see many adolescents for whom sex is linked with coercion, violence and abuse. We see girls as well as boys, raised in a climate of domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, with little opportunity for acquiring positive self-esteem; indeed in situations where there is no love.”

In a press release, FPA also indicated that research suggests that the average age of first sexual intercourse is now 14. The body called for increased funding to combat teenage pregnancy.

Programme coordinator of the non-profit organisation Parenting TT, Barbara King, on Wednesday said it is the responsibility of not just the State but also of parents and communities to ensure that children are kept in a safe environment if real change is to happen.

“It is the responsibility of parents and communities to make sure that those children are safe,” King said. “There are not enough Government ministers, not enough police officers to deal with this. There must be real change from the ground level. For this situation to improve there must be action from the ground up.”

King said the statistics were alarming not only because of the number of girls becoming pregnant, but because of what it reveals about the level of paedophile activity that is going unchecked. “I think the angle that’s being missed is there must be 2,500 paedophiles out there, assuming each girl is impregnated by a separate person,” King said. “What are we doing about that? This means there are 2,500 paedophiles, in addition to 2,500 children who are unprepared for parenthood.”

She noted the impact of this situation will be inter-generational.

“A total of 2,500 children who are unprepared for parenthood is a serious cause for concern and we need to get to them,” she said. “We have a situation where children are having children.”

ParentingTT, formerly known as Trinidad and Tobago Innovative Parenting Support (TTIPS) is a non-profit organisation registered with the Ministry of Legal Affairs since 2001.

The press release continued, “There are critical decisions to be made when a teen becomes pregnant and support and guidance is very important.

SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH MINORS

UNDER 14

Cases Charges

2011 125 64

2012 126 81

2013 80 44

BETWEEN 14 - 16

2011 145 67

2012 226 133

2013 117 43

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