Bogota child abuse cases rise by 11%

More than 700 reports of child sex abuse were reported in Bogota in 2011, an 11% rise on the previous year, reported local media Wednesday.

Councillor Martha Ordonez said the figures should act as a warning bell to authorities to take action and implement policies that had already been agreed.

A sexual violence policy created by a local government office had still not been implemented, said Ordonez.

The higher number of victims — which when including those over the age of 18 was 3,783, up from 3,397 in 2010 — could partly be a result of increased reporting following campaigns to encourage people to come forward, she added.

The growing number could be down to campaigns encouraging victims to report abuse, said councillor Martha Ordonez, but too many people still stayed silent. “We are still very far from knowing the true dimensions of this problem, if we take into account that 70% of cases are not reported, according to the Prosecutor General, or even worse, according to the Family Welfare Institute, 95%,” she warned.

She pointed out that most of the 500 pregnancies in children less than 14-years-old in Bogota last year were not registered as cases of sexual abuse.

There are many factors preventing the reporting of such crimes, said Ordonez. A major issue was “the fact that the most common place [the abuse] happens is the child’s home and the abuser is almost always a relative or a person known [to the victim], put together with the fact that it’s not easy for a young victim to make an accusation when they can’t count on the support of an adult.”

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