2 400 children raped in 10 months

HARARE - At least 2 400 children were raped while 3 421 cases of sexual abuse were reported to the police from January to October, a senior police officer revealed yesterday.

Isabella Sergio, officer commanding national victim friendly unit, told a national crime awareness campaign launch that rape of juveniles was on the increase, with a number of cases going unreported.

“Rapists seem to take advantage of children’s naivety, vulnerability and their inability to protect themselves,” said Sergio.
According to law enforcement agents, 649 reported rape cases against children were perpetrated by relatives of these vulnerable minors whom they would have put their trust in.

“What has become worrisome now is that boys under the age of 18 have developed a habit of sexually abusing young girls below the age of 12,” she added.

Sergio further said this year alone, 9 807 cases of domestic violence were reported to the police, a massive increase from the 8 296 recorded last year.

“Murders as a result of domestic violence also continue to rise,” she said.

Charity Charamba, national police spokesperson, revealed that during the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, 262 perpetrators were arrested.

She said 99 rape suspects were also nabbed while 62 others were arrested for crimes related to sexual abuse.

Bernard Dumbura, officer commanding anti-stock theft, revealed that this year alone, 4 144 cases of stock theft were reported, a decrease of 14 percent from last year’s 4 978.

“The number of cattle stolen between January and October also decreased from 10 662 in 2011 to 9 264 in 2012 translating to a 13 percent decrease,” he said.

According to Dumbura, 3 557 cattle were recovered compared to 3 381 recovered in 2011.

He also revealed that 1 153 cattle rustlers were nabbed from January to October this year, 14 873 people were also arrested for stock theft-related crimes.

Dumbura said 632 food outlets were closed by the police while 901 butcheries were shut down after failing to meet required health standards. - Xolisani Ncube

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