MSDFS: 62% increase in sexual violence against girls under 15

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MSDFS: 62% increase in sexual violence against girls under 15

The Minister of Social Development and Family Services Donna Cox, has revealed that between the years 2020 to 2021, there was a 62 per cent increase in sexual violence against girls under the age of 15.

Speaking on Wednesday evening during the Women’s Round Table Platform of Trinidad and Tobago (WRAP TT) on the elimination of violence, Minister Cox disclosed that the incidents of violence were so bad, that officials in this country and around the world termed it the “shadow pandemic”.

The theme of WRAP TT discussion was Domestic Violence Against Women and Girls, A Shadow Pandemic.

Cox also disclosed that there were significant increases in sexual violence for girls and women in other age groups above 15.

“These increases range from as low as nine per cent in the 15-19 age group to as high as 106 per cent in the 30 to 34 age bracket,” she said.

Cox said violence against women and girls intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues even today.

“Up until September 2023, females accounted for 75 per cent of the reports of domestic violence reports made to the TTPS and the remaining 25 per cent are men,” Cox explained.

The minister said for the period January to September this year, there were 972 calls made to the domestic violence hotline with women being 95 per cent of the callers.

Cox said 66 per cent of the reports centred around emotional, physical and verbal abuse.

“As glaring and heart wrenching as these figures are they do not tell the true story of the pain and suffering endured by the hundreds of women who were strong enough to call the hotline,” she added.

Cox said for the year so far, 1,500 women have been affected by some form of violence. Between 2018 and 2022, 7,500 women made domestic abuse reports.

“Our experience over the years tells us that there may be hundreds of thousands more of these cases which for varying reasons have not been documented … because they were not reported,” she said.

Cox said these numbers had not gone unnoticed and her ministry has taken part in many multi-pronged initiatives and activities to correct this. She added that efforts are being taken to curb domestic violence.