23 Nov 2005

Fiji police report massive increase in sex crimes

6:31 pm on 23 November 2005

Fiji police have revealed that reported sexual offences, mainly against women and children, have increased by 68 percent in the first six months of this year.

The Fiji Times reports that the police spokesperson, Sylvia Low, gave the figure at the launch of the Women's Crisis Centre's STOP RAPE CAMPAIGN.

Ms Low said reported cases of rape and attempted rape increased by 70 percent and indecent assault by 58 percent from January to June this year compared with the same period last year.

There was a 175 percent increase in unnatural offences and offences against public morality increased by 71 percent.

Women's Crisis Centre coordinator, Shamima Ali, said the justice system has failed women because sentencing is lenient on the perpetrator and such cases are given low priority.

Ms Ali said delays caused a lot of stress to the victims, and put pressure on their families to reconcile and bring an end to the cases.

She says although there is a unit in the police force dealing with sexual offences, it is often unresponsive because officers are away on training or there are no vehicles.