Abuse of minors a concern

National

By JIMMY KALEBE
POLICE say sexual abuse of children aged 16 and below is growing significantly and crippling society.
“That is the reality and of grave concern.
“Reports have been received daily nationwide,” acting Asst Comm (Northern region) Peter Guinness said.
He said in an interview on Thursday that “this is now a very big problem in Papua New Guinea” and called for stiffer penalties to help curb the crime.
“Heavier punishments will at least help deter such criminal-minded individuals,” he added.
He said another measure to help check the growth of such crimes “is raising public awareness”.
“Raising public awareness is not only about the impact of such crimes on children, family or community,” Guinness said.
“It must include the punishments and the laws.”
“Awareness campaigns and projects should be targeted at schools, settlements and workplaces to drive people to understand the issues.
“Currently, only a small number of perpetrators were prosecuted successfully but the majority of them got away.
“Those in remote areas find it difficult to report.
“They are being suppressed by compensation payments or by fear.
The young and fragile victims of sexual abuse then fear to report their assailants.
“This, in a way, emboldens perpetrators,” he said.
Guinness urged individuals and communities to help curb or eradicate cases of child sexual abuses by reporting such crimes against minors so that the police can act swiftly.

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