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A Call for Harsher Penalties For Child Sexual Abusers Featured

  • Written by  Merriel Henry
A Call for Harsher Penalties For Child Sexual Abusers

Child sexual abuse is very rampant in Grenada. The abusers seem to be revelling in what they are doing and in my view, the judicial system in relation to the laws and the judicators, which are the magistrates and judges are not using their powers to show how disgusting these sexual abuse matters are.

Don’t we care about our children anymore? Why are grown-up men continuing to sexually abuse our children? Grown men that have the responsibility to protect our children are instead preying on them and taking away their innocence.  Is it because the court system is not strict enough when it comes to these types of rape cases, giving the perpetrators bail?  What is really going on in our little island?

Could you imagine that most of those abusers are given bail? Yes, the matter is bailable but the magistrate together with the judge must take into consideration that they can use their discretion to award or deny bail. I believe it is much more prudent that bail is denied those abusers even it is six months before the matter is heard. They must be made to feel what being confined means. One does not understand how a learned magistrate or judge can take into consideration the abuser citing insufficient evidence even though there are medical reports to show that that child was indeed abused. Judicators talking about insufficient evidence give abusers lenient sentences (2- 3 years). They go to prison and come out revelling because their sentence was no deterrent. They get out of prison and still continue the sexual abuse. 

I believed that the system is failing the victims in most of those cases. Recall a recent situation where a learned judge dismissed an abuse case on the grounds that insufficient jurors were present for the matter to begin, whereas the said judge had the power to use discretion and adjourn the matter to another sitting of the assizes. Rather he failed the victim. 

The magistrates and judges know they have the power to cast judgment, they can use their discretion, which the law allows them to use. I think it is appropriate that in cases of child sexual abuse to a greater extent than many other abuse cases that the magistrate or judge pays close attention to the victim. The victim will be scarred for life and not receive satisfaction could lead to conflict between the family of the victim and that of the abuser. The family of the victim or even the victim in later years could decide to take their own action to get even for the injustice. I believe that the system must employ a stiff jail sentence for all child sexual abusers. Even though they are afforded some form of counselling they must be made to pay for their crime with a stiff jail sentence. They must also be made to pay a financial compensation to the victim. The system must employ a system where a financial compensation of at least $20,000 must be paid to the victim regardless of how old the abuser is. Although compensation will not take the scar away from the victim, if the money is not paid within a certain time after the abuser gets out of prison then the abuser should be sent back to jail.

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