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Crisis as defilement, incest cases increase since lockdown

WORRIED: Marathe
WORRIED: Marathe

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The Botswana Police Service (BPS) have noted with concern a staggering rise in reported cases of defilement and incest since the beginning of lockdown for COVID-19 (Corona Virus) prevention purposes.
The statistics from the period of March 23 to 29 has indicated that two murder cases, 24 robbery cases, two threat to kill reports, 31 defilement cases as well as four indecent assault cases were committed across the country.

The serious spike in domestic violence and related crimes has prompted the BPS to launch an additional toll free number for victims to report abusers.

The Deputy Commissioner, Dinah Marathe who released the statistics this week explained that the increase in the numbers could be “because families now spend a lot of time at home, meaning that the time we spend together has increased.”

Marathe further noted that what was worrying was the observation that it was mostly minor girls and older women who were targeted by perpetrators.

“Since lockdown we have noted an increase in rape incidents involving minor children aged between two years and 13 years as well as older folks. A lot of them are raped at home, culprits seem to be either parents, fathers, step fathers, brother or cousins in the house,” the deputy commissioner said.

The police boss has further noted that there were 315 recorded murder incidents in 2017, 316 in 2018 while murder statistics shot up to 320 cases in 2019.

“Rape for the same period stood at 2074 in 2017, 2064 in 2018 whilst in 2019 police recorded 2265. For Defilement incidents for the same period, 2017 had 572 reported cases, 2018- 769 and last year an alarming increase of up to 1208 rape cases were recorded,” Marathe further stated.

When encouraging women to report such criminal activities, the Deputy Commissioner said, “Do not feel stigmatized. Report wherever you are. The Police will have a social worker and trained service provider so they could assist by asking the right questions within a short space of time.”

Marathe further revealed that last year it came to the police attention that about 67 percent of women do not report GBV cases.

Meanhwile UNICEF has strongly condemned the sharp spike of rape against minor children.

“We have noted with concern the alarming numbers of children who have been raped since the beginning of the lockdown. It is heartbreaking to hear that out of 22 rape cases reported, seven of them are children between the ages of two and 13 years. In addition the Botswana Police Service have registered 23 cases of defilement in the same week,” said acting UNICEF representative Sarah Ng’inja.

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