NASSAU, BAHAMAS — With an increase in sexual offenses last year, parents must be more responsible for their daughters, said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday.
According to police statistics, there was a 34 percent increase in sexual offenses in 2020 involving rape, unlawful sexual intercourse and attempted rape, with the Sexual Offences Unit investigating 213 cases last year.
Dames said: “The concern with me with those numbers is the unlawful sex and that has always been something that has been with us and sometimes it goes underreported.
“It really speaks to us and our roles as parents and knowing where our kids are, especially our young girls and who they are involved with, who they are hanging out with, who they are communicating with in virtual spaces on social media because a lot of things take place on social media that feeds into this.
“So, we recognize that this is certainly an area that we will have to continue to work on and direct our efforts and our energies. Working with families, working with communities and working through the schools and getting our young girls and young men in particular, in getting to see why this is a problem.”
Of those cases last year, there were 50 incidents of rape, representing a 16 percent increase in the crime compared to the previous year; and five attempted rapes, representing a 38 percent decrease compared to the eight attempted rapes in 2019.
Police also reported an uptick in unlawful sexual intercourse with 158 — which also included incidents of incest.
Additionally, the commissioner of police advised that the majority of the 100 missing persons reports filed last year were adolescent girls engaging in sexual intercourse.
Dames noted that the government’s sexual offenders registry will seek to address some of those concerns regarding sexual offences and will be featured prominently this year.
“It is time now for the Bahamian people to see who those persons are, especially those repeat offenders, who they are and where they reside.”
The national security minister said it is expected that the register will be up and running before the end of the first quarter.
He noted that officials have been meeting with stakeholders to run a pilot within the first quarter.
Dames added that the committee is still trying to determine where the pilot will be operated from and what resources — including manpower, material and equipment — are required.
“We hope to run testing within this quarter… We will keep you posted as to when we’re up, certainly within this quarter.”
The Registration of Sex Offenders Regulations was tabled in Parliament in July 2019, but has yet to be debated or passed.