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Police report increase in sexual offences
Assistant Superintendent of Police Joanne Archie says there has been a disturbing increase in sexual offences which include incest, rapes, gang rapes and date rapes. She was speaking on Wednesday at the weekly police briefing at the Police Administration Building in Port-of-Spain.
Archie said during 2011 there were 484 reports of sexual offences, but from January to October this year, there already have been 698 reports. “We continue to see reports of rapes in various divisions,” she said. “There has been an increase in rapes and incest and sex with a minor between the ages of 14 and 16...There has been an increase in reports of incest in Southern Division and sex with a minor in the Eastern Division.”
Archie said public awareness was the first line of defence and an important part of crime prevention. She said when commuting, it was best to travel in groups, and a “PH” vehicle with a passenger might not be necessarily safe. “See who the occupants are...Learn to trust your instincts and listen to what your intuition tells you,” she said.
“If you have a feeling something is wrong or suspicious, react immediately and take action to reduce the risk of becoming a victim.” Archie advised passengers to text the number of the car to a friend and if worried about their safety, request the driver to stop and get out. She advised that women should make enquiries about the person before going on a first or blind date.
“If you have to meet, do so in a public place. Always let someone know who you are going with and what your itinerary is,” she said. Archie said people should not allow anyone to open their drinks and advised against sharing out of another person’s glass. She said there had also been reports of gang rapes and advised that young men should not be coerced by a group or have sex with someone who is intoxicated.
“That person may be unable to give consent which is an important ingredient in the offence,” she said. “If the person is unable to give consent or is being coerced, and you are part of the group, you should demand that the perpetrator stop and immediately call the police.
“The same goes for females or males under 16, even if they are willing. By law they cannot give consent, and as such you may be criminally liable.” She said that women should avoid presenting a victim profile by excessive jewelry or carrying a lot of cash. “If you find yourself in a dangerous situation, please remember that your number one priority is not to fight but escape...Do not hesitate to take every possible escape route,” she said.
Archie said if escape was not possible, the victim should consider complying until it was possible. “When faced with someone who demands your valuables, give it to them without resistance and get out of there. No possessions, however valuable, are worth risking your life over,” she said.
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