The sexual abuse of children continued unabated last year, as preliminary data from the Centre for the Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) is showing that sexual offences against minors accounted for 907 of the 1,228 cases reported to the unit in 2014.
Of the 907 cases, 504 involved sexual intercourse with children under 16 years old, while 68 involved sexual touching. Of the 27 cases of buggery recorded by CISOCA, 21 were of children while 51 children were abducted.
Newly appointed head of CISOCA, Superintendent Enid Ross, said she is deeply concerned about the number of cases involving sexual intercourse with minors.
"It is my intention to embark on special initiatives with stakeholders and partner agencies. However, I am presently having meetings to finalise my plans. Public education is on my priority list," Ross told The Sunday Gleaner.
Meanwhile, chairperson of the National Family Planning Board, Dr Sandra Knight, said she is also concerned about the impact sexual abuse is having on children and their families.
"I dare to say that if we do not stem the virulence of Jamaican men raping our girls, the Jamaican family, and hence the future of our Jamaican people, may be at risk," she said.
"The apparent significant prevalence of adult males raping female children is abominable! And their female accomplices, many times the mother of the child, even more despicable!" she argued.
She admonished mothers to stop cradling the heads of their children's abusers, and called upon churches to speak out against abuse in their communities and churches.
"Girls who have been sexually assaulted many times have several difficulties forming or maintaining families. Without healthy families, our children will be deprived of the social support they need to thrive as adults and contribute to a thriving nation," she said.
See related story on Page A5.