More than 200 cases reported on child sexual abuse so far this year in Belize

By Rumi Samuel Published on August 26, 2021
More than 200 cases reported on child sexual abuse so far this year in Belize

Recent reports of minors being sexually assaulted have sparked outrage in Belize. 

Several reports involving children have surfaced in the last week. 

A man is wanted for allegedly raping a female minor in a Belmopan City apartment, another man was arrested for allegedly raping a 12-year-old boy during a tutoring class, and a 21-year-old man is being held in police custody for allegedly sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl at home. 

In a statement, The Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, The Office of the Special Envoy for the Development of Families & Children, and the National Committee for Families and Children (NCFC) says sexual abuse continues to be the second most reported form of child abuse.

It says statistical data from the Department of Human Services shows 220 sexual abuse/assault reports from January to June 2021 and 366 reports in 2020.  

The ministry says children who have been assaulted suffer physical, psychological, and emotional distress. The long-term effects on the child can lead them to display a range of negative emotional and behavioural reactions.  

It reminds Articles 34 and 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states that children have the right to be free from sexual abuse, and they have a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, in body or mind.  

Therefore the ministry says parents must discuss the abuse with their children as studies have shown that such acts are often committed by someone they know.  

The ministry says it recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has created additional stress and challenges on families as they navigate the loss of employment, anxiety, and uncertainty about their safety and well-being.  

These conditions have increased the vulnerability of Belizean children and demonstrate the need for intentionality in establishing a safety plan to protect them.  

The ministry acknowledges that more needs to be done as a country and in all communities to keep children safe; however, working together can only accomplish this.

Family members, teachers, school administrators, medical practitioners, and all others who work with or provide services to children are reminded that all suspected child abuse cases must be reported to the Belize Police Department and the Department of Human Services, as outlined in the Child Abuse Reporting Regulations.

Rumi Samuel

Rumi Samuel

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