NASSAU, The Bahamas (CMC) — Head of the Domestic Violence Unit of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF), Dellareece Ferguson has described as “startling” the number of sexual violence cases as the authorities report also an increase in the number of rape cases so far this year.
Figures show that there have been 51 matters reported so far for the year when compared to 48 incidents that were recorded in 2021.
Police figures also showed that there were 69 cases of indecent assault and 10 reported incidents of incest between January 1 and August 23.
As it relates to unlawful sexual intercourse, data show there were seven cases reported to police, 39 incidents of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 14, and another 37 reported unlawful sex cases with individuals between 14 and 16 years of age.
Ferguson, an assistant commissioner of police, told the consultation meeting on the draft Caribbean Community (Caricom) Regional Gender Equality Strategy (CRGES) that there was also one reported case of sexual violence with a mentally ill person, and seven reported incidents involving dependents.
Police also received six unnatural male sexual intercourse reports.
“That’s our numbers for the year to date from the first of January to the 23rd of August. Those numbers, ladies and gentlemen in the room, [are] startling,” she said, adding that there have also been six domestic violence murder cases recorded so far this year.
The senior police official warned that if the trend continues, this year’s figures could surpass that of 2021 and 2020 which represented eight and six, respectively.
“Ladies and gentlemen, these are the numbers that we deal with on a daily basis and some of the incidents that come to our attention.
“But [what] I’d like to encourage you to do for us at the Domestic Violence Unit is to re-encourage those persons that you may know to give us a call and come and visit with us so that we can sit down and help them to go through the various situations that are going on.
“I can tell you that we are working diligently, day in and day out, to make sure that if a report is made against our very own, that we leave no stone unturned,” she said, committing the unit to ensuring that domestic violence and gender-based violence is eliminated or “minimised to the greatest extent”.