Antigua Observer:-The police said that they are seeing a spike in the number of statutory rape cases, especially during the summer months.
“One of the things I have noticed as an investigator, is that summer vacation is when we tend to see a peak in children below the age of consent, engaging in sexual activity,” said Marlon Proctor, Senior Sergeant of Police.
The police officer told OBSERVER media that without pulling all the records, two males were already apprehended for having sex with minors in July.
“From the top of my head, for July we arrested and charged two males, 17 and 30 years old, for having sexual intercourse with two 15-year-old girls,” Senior Sergeant Proctor said.
The police sergeant said that most of the cases of statutory rape that they are seeing at this time, are between 14 and 15-year-old girls and 17-year old boys, however, there are others involving older men and teenaged girls.
Antigua & Barbuda’s statutory rape law is violated when an individual has sexual intercourse with a person under 16.
The senior cop said the major cause for the increase in the sexual offence is parents leaving children who are on summer break, unsupervised at home, while they go to work.
“There are many factors which can cause this, but primarily during summer vacation, children tend to be less supervised than at other times,” he said. “They have more free time, they are out of the house more, and this is the time we tend to see the spike in this activity,” said the senior sergeant.
Corporal Owen Rigby said that in addition to ensuring that their children are properly supervised, parents should speak to them about sex.
“It is important for parents to be aware that you are in a particular period where a certain activity is prone to happen, so you need to address it and have that conversation with your sons and your daughters as to what can possibly happen,” said Corporal Rigby.
The penalty for a man having sexual intercourse with a girl under the age of 14, can be up to a lifetime in prison. But, if he engages a girl between 14 and less than 16 years, he faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.